In My Life

Small movie theater where I saw all the great movies of my childhood for the very first time. Closed in 1996, but still there.

Small movie theater where I saw all the great movies of my childhood for the very first time. Closed in 1996, but still there.

 

There are places I’ll remember all my life, though some have changed.                                                  -Lennon/McCartney

In My Life has always been one of my favorite songs. John had me at the next line, “some forever, not for better.” I suppose when I was young it didn’t mean much to me other than an example of great lyric writing– simple and perfect. It takes a few years to gain an appreciation for how people and places change in our lifetime. When we are very young, we know that things are going to be different someday, but someday also might as well be an eternity away. We live our childhood lives as though everyone and every place will always be there.

Well, that wasn’t true at all. There is almost nowhere left I can go back to from my childhood. My parents no longer live in the house I grew up in. Other people and their things exist in almost every place I ever found familiar. All the buildings I once frequented have new things in them, or have been torn down. My school looks different, the place where I went for my first date has been demolished, and the theater where I saw almost all of my first movies has been closed for years. I can’t go back, even for a few moments of nostalgia. 

People change, too. Sometimes they change because we are no longer in school, start a new job, move away, or begin a new relationship. Life takes some of us on many journeys. And the truth is, some people who once mattered have been completely forgotten. I recently ran into someone who I had gone to school with since kindergarten, and I didn’t even remember him at first. I had a crush on him when I was six. I graduated high school with him. How could I forget?

On the other hand, there are also those people who leave their mark on us forever. Sometimes it’s subtle, just a brief encounter. Other times it’s more obvious than that. Maybe we have no desire to include them in our life again, but they will always own a small piece of us.

Teghan swinging on the same swings I played on when I was her age, across from the Park Theatre.

Teghan swinging on the same swings I played on when I was her age, across from the Park Theatre.

Memories are a funny thing. We crave nostalgia. We want to go back, if only for a few minutes, just to experience that memory more vividly. We can’t do that, but we can obsess over how the days, weeks, and years are fleeting.

We can try and capture everything and everyone around us in this moment and place, and not take any of it for granted. But in the end, it only leaves us with another memory.

Some people remain in our lives, but there is still nostalgia for who they once were. Children are the greatest example of this type of mind game. They just keep changing, and seem to be a constant reminder of the passing of time.

And this time when they are growing up will fill both of your heads with memories that somehow outweigh most others- which is a lot of pressure on parents. Let’s face it, childhood memories about family are stubborn. Will our kids remember any of this?

Yes.

We won’t stay in Michigan. And as we plan our next move in life, I realize that for Teghan it will be even bigger. She has an amazing memory. She doesn’t forget anything; people, places, or where each piece of paper in that box she carries around is supposed to be.

Sometimes I wonder if she thinks about her home in Illinois. She was two and a half when we left, so it probably doesn’t mean much. But now that she is five, I know she will always remember this home, and her classmates at school. Many memories will be replaced, but some of it will always stay with her.

These are the things that make up who we are. There were places where I made mistakes, sometimes with people I never should have been there with. And you know, I used to think I would regret those things. I don’t. They are just another part of who I am today, and I am okay with the place they hold in my brain. Of course, hindsight isn’t exactly 20/20. In fact, there are quite a few blind spots. We see what we want to see both before…. and after.

Park Playground

…and these memories lose their meaning when I think of love as something new. I know I will never lose affection for people and things that went before. I know I’ll often stop and think about them. – Lennon/McCartney

So, maybe truer lyrics were never written. Sometimes we change. Our places and relationships change. They are replaced with other things, and we are surprisingly capable of replacing the things we thought we never could. But just because we don’t love someone or some place now, doesn’t mean we didn’t truly love them once. The memories do lose their meaning, but we also spend a lifetime going back to them in one way or another.

It’s true for me, for Dave, for Teghan, and for even you. And, if we are lucky we will be able to look back at this time in our lives. We will wonder about the people and places we knew, and we will be relieved or sad. But we will think about them.

This is how the minutes go. One by one, you never know which one will die, which one will live forever.

 

5 thoughts on “In My Life

  1. Jenny, that was absolutely beautiful. Seemed to be just what I needed on this dreary day of waiting for my body to heal back to some semblance of it’s former strength and agility, Truly, we all have a head full of memories, neither good not bad, just shadows of who we were. Thanks for sharing. Mary

    • Thanks, Mary! Sounds like you have a great support system to help you through this time of mending. I imagine you are creating all sorts of wonderful memories in the meantime. I hope the healing speeds up, and I hope Liam is feeling better, too 🙂

  2. One of my favorite songs too. The words really ring true. Wonderful post. I think Dad’s first movie was at the Park theater too, with Grandma and Grandpa Hill. Very bitter sweet to see it now and that picture of Teghan so much like you at that age, where I usually see a little copy of Dave, here she looks just like you did. Maybe the environment, but brings back a flood of memories. I know life is in the moment, but we do hold some “forever not for better”. You are right in the phrases perfect simplicity. Some get stronger or better too, because we choose to think of them as such. Our memories can paint a better picture.
    Thanks for the sharing those insights….it was great!…….Mom

  3. Omg-Jenny! Reading this means so much to me, in a strange way……so many emotions I feel. It’s great. You are an amazingly strong person and an incredible writer. We lost touch so long ago and there is so much I never knew…….however while reading this I remembered the friendship we had, and the stories we told……damn time fly’s. I remember the trust i had in you and all of your wonderful advice at that struggling time of my life…….and i must say, its much appreciated…..then and now. Thank you!

    • Tiff, what a nice thing to say 🙂 It does seem like a million years ago, but also kind of like yesterday. I was just looking at old pictures of Teghan at the store- she was there A LOT. Thank you for reading and sharing. I am glad you found me!

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