The past has passed…

imageI’ve spent far too much time living in my own past.  Granted, it was a time of happiness for me.  But if it deters one from moving forward, it’s time to shut the door on its examination and to forge a new path.  I know I’m loathe to refer to Jay Gatsby and his experiences too much, but Nick Carraway really grasps the obvious when he states, “He talked a lot about the past, and I gathered that he wanted to recover something, some idea of himself perhaps, ….”  My mind frequently revisits my childhood in Vermont.  Granted we moved when I was entering the second grade, but those few years in Burlington are forever cemented in me.

However, they’ve become a standard against which I measure myself time and time again only to find I don’t measure up.  I have to leave the past in the past now.  I’m not who I once was.  And I’m learning it’s okay to be a different person.  Would I prefer to be the slimmer, more athletic person I was in my youth?  Sure, I would.  But it’s impossible to ignore the water that’s gone under this bridge in the ensuing years.

The other day I drove past my childhood home in Burlington.  I’m always struck by how much smaller the dead-end street appears, how much closer to the street the house is positioned, how “tired” the whole scene appears.  Though I wouldn’t want to live there now, I still enjoy what I experienced there when I was young.

I was a happy-go-lucky kid, quick with a goofy smile and equally quick to go running off into the woods to reenact some television show I’d watched.  I could swim, skate and ski with ease and had no trouble keeping pace with the boys on the baseball field.  Throughout my teenage years when I visited Burlington every summer, I could still swing myself into a saddle with ease though I can see from photographs that the goofy smile had disappeared and was replaced by more of a brooding countenance.

Life can wear us down and suck the joy from any activity.  Reality tells me I’m far too overweight to try to swing into a saddle.  It would not be fair to the horse, I’m told.  Skiing and skating on a permanently damaged ankle, from an icy fall thirty years ago, would now be difficult but not altogether impossible.  Burned out from teaching tennis for over thirty years, with practice I could probably still slam a tennis ball fairly well.  I’d be slow on the baseball diamond but could still catch, though with bad shoulders I now throw like a girl.  Put me in the water and I can still swim like a fish.  I’m so thankful for that.  And thus, I look to the water for continued healing.

What’s the point?  Instead of reliving my past in the comfortable world of a child, I’m able to see a path that leads me to that happy-go-lucky kid…the one who didn’t care if her hair was a mess, the kid who protected other kids who were bullied, the kid who immersed herself in books.  Wait a minute, I’m still that kid.

About thequarryschild

A self-described forensic junkie, Beth Anderson spends her days shaping young minds to ask critical questions and wonder “whodunit.” Beth resides in the Capital District of New York and spends her free time reading and solving the great mysteries. Her love of swimming, tennis and sports provides the basis for one of the lead characters in her new book The Quarry’s Child. Beth is one of the founding members of the Upper Hudson Valley Chapter of Sisters in Crime (aka Mavens of Mayhem), a graduate of the FBI Citizens Academy, a survivor of a visit to an active aircraft carrier while it was at sea, and a published poet in Soundings, a literary journal. Beth continues to instill a love for mystery fiction in her students as she has for over twenty years. Photo credit: Quinn Mulvey
This entry was posted in challenges, Change, childhood, inspiration, learning experiences, nostalgia, Reflections and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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