Living each day much muchier
When I was young, the picture of perfect happiness looked like being part of a small but fierce group of friends who could always rely on each other. If I could have that, I’d have belonging, purpose and value. Romance was the slow boil of yearning for each other, but having to remain friends, because of… circumstances. Honour first, then love, but always looking after each other.
Yeah, I know. I watched too much TV.
Still, I’ve chased circumstances that looked like that. Sometimes I had it, too. There are pockets of greatness in there, really special times with amazing groups of people, full of magic, where I had exactly that.
These little pocket universes of perfect happiness lasted sometimes weeks, sometimes years. Whenever I catch up with people they reflect that those were rare and special times. I’m lucky in that I’ve had lots of them. But, of course, life goes on. People change. They move forward, or on altogether. Life isn’t a sunset narrative where characters continue in their happy ever-after.
Or rather, I never found a way to move into that ever-after and its next horizons with the group intact. Instead, I left. I remade myself over and over. I cut loose past selves like they never existed.
Sometimes I wonder if that was a symptom of anxiety, long before a doctor wrote it down on paper. Fail? Burn it to the ground. Start fresh. Be someone new.
Lately, I’ve been feeling a strong urge to integrate. I want to gather all those past selves and own her awkward moments, her poor decisions, and her burned bridges. The very few people who survived these burn-downs can hold a mirror reflection, and I hope to find some continuity there.
When one of my oldest friends visited in 2019, I realised that I’d stopped singing. My silence was strange to her ears. We both sang constantly once, and she still does. An ex had trained it away with hurtful comments but he doesn’t deserve the last word on something that was once so soul synonymous. It took the mirror of a good friend to remind me of that.
Another friend, a blast from 22 years past, visited recently and I found myself caught between the playful, random dance, bad karate in the supermarket person I was then, and this creature of weight and melancholy I feel I am now. I don’t know how to reconcile those two people, to recognise myself in his mirror.
The age we wear tells a story of who we are, what we’ve been through and how we approach life. Every wrinkle and scar is the tattoo of nature, the filling up of a soul. There’s no going back, but maybe there’s a way forward that integrates those versions into one continuous self.
It’s time to connect with all those people I once knew, and with the person they once knew. I hope to create a kind of kintsugi pottery from it all.
Has anyone done this and have good tips? I’m interested to hear your insights and stories.