Life is a funny thing sometimes. It can catch us off guard when we least expect it, like when we’re distracted with other things or so unfocused that our head is spinning. I found myself discussing this with my therapist last week. I was telling her how this spring weather has been making me feel so nostalgic. My old life before my father died. All those family trips we used to take. My days as a feisty elementary schooler zooming around on the playground. All these memories were rushing back to me and washing over me like one gigantic waterfall.
Which is sort of weird since I’ve never really felt like that in years past. And then (coincidentally?) I came across an old column I wrote. Now, we’re talking old here — as in, a column I wrote way back when I worked on my college’s newspaper. Yeah, that old. I may have only been in my 20s back then, but I apparently knew what I was talking about when it came to those bittersweet moments that life serves up…
The dictionary defines bittersweet as “producing or expressing a mixture of pain and pleasure.” It’s a bit disconcerting to think that an experience could have both good and bad aspects to it. Perhaps one of the first — and most important – bittersweet moments in life is graduating from high school. If you’re like the majority of adults, the end of high school couldn’t come soon enough; you may even be ready to forget the entire experience. But there’s no denying that in leaving the hallowed halls of that scary place, you’re also leaving a comfort zone. You are forced to enter the real world — whether that entails college or a job. The real world soon can become a far scarier place than the public school system.
It was that mixture of pain and pleasure — good and bad — that I found myself mulling over with my therapist. It was almost as if those flooding memories were a two-sided coin. One side is the happy side — all the things that make me smile just thinking about them. The other side? Well, that’s the sad side, I suppose — the side that reminds me those times, like life with my father, are gone. And I remember just how much I miss those times. But, leave it to my younger self to comfort me…
Life doesn’t always turn out the way you want or expect it to, and you’ll undoubtedly experience more bittersweet moments in life – some heavy on the bitter, while others heavy on the sweet. But perhaps it’s life’s twists and turns that mold us into the people we become. As I always say (and I coined this myself): “If you always stand on the shore, you’ll never feel the water.”
If you think about it, that’s really what memories are. Those twists and turns that life throws us. What bittersweet moments make up your memories, friends? Do certain things, like the seasons, trigger those memories? How do you work through them? Let’s chat, shall we? xoxo
[Photos via Le Love]