A few years ago I went to a social gathering for a former workplace of mine. I worked there for three years and I still knew some people who had worked there for a few more years than I did. I loved that workplace. I have lots of good memories associated with it. I grew a lot as a person and professional there. I met lots of great people over the course of my employment there. I thought I’d slip back into that magic state once I got around some of those people again.
That didn’t happen. It was at a bar in St. Paul. I exchanged pleasantries with about a half-dozen people and we caught up about our lives. That’s all great for about 20 minutes because you then kind of walk around fiddling with your drink wondering if you should suffer through and get another one or if you should just cut your losses at the moment and get out of there. I stuck it out for another hour. It wasn’t that awful, but it wasn’t quite what I thought it would be.
This feeling happens a lot more than it should. You want things to work out a certain way. You want your thoughts and memories to remain in tact and you want to be able to summon those feelings at any moment that you’re feeling down or in need of a little boost of things. That’s one thing this current nostalgia-heavy economy likes to tell you: the past was always great and you should keep going back to that well because your thoughts will not disappoint you. Or at least they shouldn’t disappoint you. Keep buying things and taking part in things that remind you of those good times.
But that doesn’t help you in the deep dark present. Things change. I’m glad that things change. One friend of mine talked about how he had cut another friend out of his life after that friend had made some incredibly hurtful and disparaging comments about a divorce my friend was going through. If you keep thinking of that friend as the same old drinking buddy you had in college, it doesn’t do anyone any good. You can only live in that space for so long until you realize that it’s not the real space. Sometimes it’s just good to sever those ties and not look back.
I think the way you fix that is to really latch on to those places and people you can have those connections with. Keep cultivating those connections you care about and things will ultimately work out. I realized a while back that I’m not able to keep up extremely close relationships with everyone that I’ve ever encountered in my life. And it’s ok to let some of those things fade away. I like to think that the ones you really cared about will stick around. If you keep making new memories you won’t be tempted to fall back into those comfortable, yet potentially toxic, holes of your memory.