Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A look back

These past few days I’ve been reading back through some of my journals. I’ve kept a journal consistently since high school, and occasionally, I pull one out and read back through my reflections. I’m reminded of so many moments, emotions, and conversations that I otherwise would have forgotten. I process information and emotions better through writing, and keeping a journal has been the one consistent thread through my life these past ten years.

I’ve been reading through my senior year of college and fresh-out-of-college-years, in particular. I’m struck by how emotional and aware I was back then. I often wrote about this need to have everything perfect, and I was very honest—or tried to be—about my flaws and shortcomings. I frequently lamented this need to perfect my character. I took everything so seriously, and though I think it’s touching to see how concerned I was about my every spiritual and ethical flaw, I also think I didn’t experience life enough. I was too concerned about the state of my soul.

I think, in many ways, I was a better person back then. I was more conscientious of my every action. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more free, but maybe not as kind. I’m not as motivated by constant self-improvement. I’m not sure what precipitated my slow decline into less self-flagellation, but reading back through the 2003-2004 years, in particular, makes me appreciate my loosening up.

Many of my musings are about my relationships and love life. I wrote a lot about my college boyfriend, and—I’m almost embarrassed to admit this—our five breakups. I can now laugh about how emotional I used to be, and how I used to analyze every facet of us, trying, unsuccessfully, to mold him into my “perfect” ideal of a relationship. It’s amazing we got back together enough times to bring our failure count to five. But we did really love each other, and I think in our youth, we had a hard time navigating our emotions and emerging adulthood. I now wish I could apologize to him for being so unnecessarily serious about the whole thing.

It’s interesting to ponder the “what ifs” of life. What if I would have married him? We’d be living in Napa. Maybe still married? Would we have had children? How different my life would be. Instead, we decided the fifth time was the final. I moved away to grad school and he married someone else.

But it’s so interesting to flip back through the journal files and reminisce about a period in my life that was un-necessarily turbulent, yet innocently heartfelt.

Change

We've been watching the inauguration ceremonies at work today, and it's really touching. To see so many people finally excited and united; to see a palpable difference in people's reactions to government--it's very refreshing.
Obama can give a speech. Wow--his inaugural address was stunning. It's so nice to see a leader who carries himself well and speaks with conviction and eloquence. 
Every day on my way to work, I walk by the historic Woolworth's building, where the 1960 sit-ins occurred during the Civil Rights movement. Being in the South makes me more aware of how far this country has come, and I'm so proud to be here now. 

Friday, January 16, 2009

Hibernation


With the temps in the teens and low 20s this past week, I’ve found myself slipping into hibernation mode. I don’t feel like being social, and trying to convince myself to go outside for a run sounds about as exciting as giving a cat a bath. I’m looking forward to spending the majority of the weekend encased in a down blanket watching Netflix movies. It will be too cold to go out for drinks in the evening, and anyways, I find my capacity for social interaction wanes as the temperatures drop. Good conversations with close friends can wait until the weather warms a bit.

 

I find myself slowly shutting down in weather like this. It’s not that I’m feeling depressed—I’m just feeling the need to hole up in a cocoon and slow my energy expenditure. Similar to a good night’s sleep, I’m hoping that half-dozing through these winter days will make them pass faster. I’ll be fully myself, once again, when the leaves start re-appearing on the trees. I’ll again start stepping out in the evenings to meet with friends, dust off my bikes for weekend rides, and re-engage with the world.