A song comes on the radio and I'm suddenly 17 again, both excited and petrified to graduate from high school, leave my friends and family, and start a new life.
Or riding in the back of the car at age 10, late into the night on a family vacation, wondering what the darkness is covering outside my window.
Or I'm 19, laying on the floor of a stinky dining hall, holding back tears and praying for strength to make it just one more day. Hot and aching and overwhelmed and content all at the same time.
Sitting in the passenger seat driving on back country roads with the windows down on a hot summer night, hearing the words, "I like you" for the first time, for the last time.
Walking down the aisle, overjoyed and scared and happy and sad at the idea of closing the door to my childhood and opening one to the rest of my life.
I've been feeling bombarded by memories lately... good memories for the most part. It's hard when you leave everything you've ever known, for a place you've never known. Memories give a sense of stability and comfort. But I'm learning to be careful... I can get so involved in my memories, that I forget that even if I was still living in Plano... Waco... Tyler... it wouldn't be the same. My friends are spread out across the country. It wouldn't be the same high school experience or the same college life because I'm not in high school or college anymore.
I'm the kid who never wanted to grow up. I cried when I quit gymnastics. And after my last softball game. And when I graduated from high school. And when I graduated from college. And at the end of every summer at camp. And when I moved to Missouri. And to Rhode Island. And every time I've flown back to Providence from Texas. Not just a little "boo hoo" for a few minutes... solid, nasty crying for hours and muggy depression for days after. The idea of my family and friends going on in life without me makes me really sad! The idea that I have no idea when I will see them again terrifies me.
I'm a hoarder of memories... My anxiety kicks in and I don't want to let go of anything that may connect me to a person I miss. Letters, text messages, emails, pictures, videos... I wish I could compile it all into a book for every person who has touched my life. I want to write down every memory I've ever had. Maybe some day I will.
Yet, I know I am here in Rhode Island for a purpose, and I can rest in God's promise that He has a plan for me. While there is nothing wrong with remembering, I can't let those memories paint my life now in a negative light. I could lay in bed all night wishing I was back at Baylor, sipping on a Summer Sparkler, reading Harry Potter. The truth is, I'm 24 years old and finished with that part of my journey. And I love my life now! I live in the freakin Ocean State, y'all. I have a great husband, a cozy home, and lovely friends. So here's to remembering the past but loving the present. If you need me, I'll be at the beach.