March 5, 2018
“The past is a candle at great distance: too close to let you quit, too far to comfort you.”
― Amy Bloom, Away
I talk about Washington a lot…
However, I don’t seem to talk about the experiences I had while I was there. It’s strange, half of my life was spent in the Evergreen State and yet I don’t really feel like any of it ever happened. I guess that’s what happens when you move at the age of ten. I have a friend who moved when he was in high school and I envy that he remembers it.
Sure, I can pinpoint certain memories when I look at old photos or if I happen across an old friend on Facebook, but it’s just not the same. Recently, I have been thinking a lot about the past. Well, dwelling would be the more appropriate word, I suppose. I get nostalgic quite often. I usually wish I could change the past or relive it and I know that is not the way to live life, but I am always wondering, “What if?”
What if I had never moved to California?
Would I still be a dancer and a writer? I don’t think so. I was really into sports when I lived up North and never really looked at dance as an option. Then again, I was a kid who tried a different hobby at any chance she could get. It’s complicated when you’re so young. I do think I would have been a writer, though. I’ve always loved reading and I used to write short stories all the time when I was little. They were never good, but it was a start.
And it’s not just my rainy childhood that I have been thinking about. It’s been mostly high school lately. A lot of which is regret. Now, I don’t think I had a bad high school experience, but I could have put more effort in it when it came to my social life and my studies.
My mental illnesses all manifested within the first two years of high school or at least they got worse so I didn’t do much in my junior and senior years. I think about how it would have been so much easier to just say yes to a few invitations here and there or go to one more football game, but alas, I never did. I think I was so focused on just getting through the days that I never really stopped and took it all in.
I found a collection of photos from my yearbook class days and they all make me smile. It was the one class in school that I never hated. Even when we were on the verge of breakdowns due to deadlines, we always had fun and I miss that. I don’t attend University so I don’t have that constant companionship that you do when you’re in school and yes, at times it gets lonely, but I have learned to…accept it. My decision, so no room to bitch about it.
Then of course there are the guys. I think a lot about how I went to prom solo and never really dated anyone. This was partly because I danced 6 days a week and barely had time to do homework let alone be in a relationship. Although I do regret not going on that movie date or not just swallowing my pride and asking that guy to prom even though everyone thought I hated him.
In fact I had liked him since Sophomore year.
High School Haley was complicated AF. Just sayin’.
And it’s not just moments that I think of when I go down memory lane, it’s the people too. I have met so many amazing people in life and I don’t talk to them anymore. It’s like a big wall has come down and I have this sudden urge to knock it down. That may be the loneliness again, but who knows?
Especially with dance.
I have found some of my best friends through the sport and I know that even though we are not currently speaking as much as we used to, we always have each other. I think about my dance days a lot. Where I trained, once you graduated school, you left the studio. Which is how it is for most places, but it’s a bit of a wake up call when you don’t know what to do after school and after years of dancing and performing it just…stops and you’re at a bit of a standstill. I will be forever grateful for what I experienced while I danced, but I regret not doing more.
I wish I could say that I have lived these twenty or so years completely regret-free, but sadly I am human and I make bad decisions or just not so smart ones and I have to live with it. There have been the bad moments and there have been good ones that I wished were slightly different. I look back and see happy memories of times that I could never dream of changing, but I also see a life that I could have had if I had just made one small change. I wish I could say that I know how the future will pan out, but unfortunately I am not a Seer…at least I don’t think so…I have a lot of Déjà vu…
I think it’s okay to regret things from your past and I also think it is okay to think about the past a lot. However, I don’t think you should dwell even though that is exactly what I am doing, but hey, we all have to learn somehow. What I do know is that even though I never asked out that guy or said yes to the football game or climbed that big tree in my neighborhood in Washington, there is one thing in my life I would never change: my family. I have regrets, but they are not one of them.
Okay, so that’s my ramble for today. I want you to think about your past and how it has affected you. Are you proud of it? Do you have regrets? Do you get overly nostalgic? And do you ever ask, “What if?”