Going back

This past weekend was a blast from my past, but also reminded me that you can’t go back. At least, not exactly.

A wedding brought us back to the area that I consider my “home,” the place where I grew up. However, as opposed to the suburban area where I spent 13 years of my life, we spent the majority of the time in downtown Minneapolis, the place I had always envisioned myself living as an adult.

It’s funny the turns you take in life. If someone had told me 15 years ago that I would be living with my Indiana-native husband in Denver, Colorado, I would have laughed and pointed to the house on Lake Calhoun that I dreamed would really be mine.

On the other hand, if someone had shown me this image 10 years ago…

…I would have no problem believing that these nearing-30 faces belonged to many of the wily teenagers in this well-worn photo:

While we’ve all grown up and traveled down our individual — and often surprising — paths, it’s always fun to get back together and relive the “glory days.” We spent the night dancing the night away, squealing when we heard old mutual favorites like “Baby Got Back” and mouthing along with the lyrics like we did over a decade ago, jumping on the beds during a basketball trip. We laughed about former (?) crushes on dreamy 10th grade Economics teachers and memories from Friday night football games.

We celebrated a friend and his bride; a friend with whom we all shared hysterical memories. A friend who, by default (due to our almost identical last names), was always seated next to me in classes, had a neighboring locker, and lastly, spent the week of graduation giggling alongside me, sharing the nervous realization that everything was about to change forever.

And everything did change. This weekend, outside of the wedding, I reunited with only a select few friends from those “glory days.” There are only a few people still left in Minnesota that I consider myself close to anymore, which is also something I wouldn’t have expected as we packed up for Indiana in 2002. As someone who has changed locations drastically and suddenly (moving away from home right after high school, moving from my college town on graduation day, and moving to Colorado with a month’s notice…), I have learned the sometimes difficult lesson that distance may sometimes make the heart grow fonder, but it always makes relationships much more difficult. Keeping in touch is a two-way street, and while I was sometimes the one that dropped the ball, I learned to give up on some people, when it felt like all of the effort to keep in contact was coming from my end. Or, when getting together after the years had passed, things felt awkward and strained.

The people I know are my lifelong friends, however, are the ones with whom I can reunite after months — or years — and we never skip a beat. We may have changed, we may have faced obstacles, and we may have found new paths, but it doesn’t change who we are to each other.

Despite my stubborn tendency to live in the past, and hold on to treasured memories with the hopes of someday recreating them, I know that there are some things — and some people — that are part of an old me, and a life that is best left behind. This weekend was a beautiful reminder of the memories that I have both forgotten and remembered fondly, as well as the new life that defines me, and the people and relationships that will always be around.

Playing with my nephew in Lake Calhoun, surrounded by my brother and his wife, my husband, my best friend from high school, and a sorority sister who relocated to MN from Indiana. Now that’s what I call “full circle.”

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