Thursday, December 3, 2009

Reminders of the Past

Since I opened up a bit about dating (and thanks everyone for your comments! It's both comforting and unsettling to find out I'm not alone with what I've experienced) and since several people have suggested that maybe I SHOULD write about dating more often, I figured I might as well open up a bit more before returning to our regularly scheduled programming. (I can't help it... I'm tapering for my marathon that happens next weekend, so I have little to say on the running front.)

I had a boyfriend in college/after college for a little less than 3 years. I'm pretty sure I've never said anything about him on here. This is intentional. I will continue to not say much. We don't speak. In fact, I haven't seen him in 2 1/2 years. We're not friends on Facebook. We don't follow each other on Twitter. So I don't think it's important for me to say anything about him. The past is the past. Now that it's been 3 1/2 years since we broke up, it sometimes feels like it never even happened. It was so long ago. The details are fuzzy. It's almost as if we're strangers now.

But our lives are still mingled at times. We have mutual friends, so sometimes I hear things. It's usually in one ear and out the other, but nonetheless I have a good idea what his life is like now. Every now and then, I wonder if that goes both ways.

I might go for MONTHS without thinking anything about him, and then I'll happen to hear someone say they saw him or some inconsequential detail that they heard about him. (It's funny how people think you might want to know these things even though you never ask.)

Tonight? I had an interesting reminder of him and his family and what my life was like 5 or so years ago when things were really good with him. I didn't expect it at all.

I was watching the 2-hour Private Practice tonight. Anyone else tune in? During the last couple of minutes of the show (the second hour of it), there was a beautiful song playing in the background. Something about it sounded familiar. I knew I had never actually heard the song, but I recognized the voice. I craned to listen as they faded it behind dialogue.

The actors became quiet. The volume on the song was turned up. I listened. And I just felt so sure that it had to be her.

I hopped on the internet and found out that I was right.

It was funny how hearing her tonight brought back memories, some that I hadn't remembered in years. She is his sister, and like many people in Nashville she's been working hard to be a musician. I remember going with him to hear her play at churches or small venues around Nashville. I wrote a piece about her for my college newspaper when she came to our campus to do a benefit show for a mission trip. I remember how much I respected her drive and ambition and how much I truly wanted to see her succeed.

I haven't seen or spoken to her in years either, and that's ok. But tonight? I felt a little connected again to people from my past. I'm not looking to make them part of my present, but it was nice to smile and remember. It was nice to see that she's living her dream. It was nice to hear her music on a major network tv show. Way to go!

I suppose that when you have the kind of relationship like what I had with him, you're always going to be connected. Even though it didn't work out and even though I'm glad now that it didn't, I will never be able to completely forget that he at one time was important to me, and that I was important to him. He will always be a part of my history. He will always be a part of what shaped me into the woman I am now. That relationship taught me lessons that I carry into the relationships I have in the present and ultimately the one that I will have with my husband in the future.

There was a time when he meant everything to me, and now? I can't say he means nothing because he will always mean something... but it's just different. I think anyone who has ever had a serious relationship end will know what I mean.

It's nice to be in this place. The one where I have long since thrown away most of the stuff that lingered in the "boyfriend box" after the breakup. Sure, he's in some pictures in my scrapbooks from that period of my life. I hung on to a couple of letters he had written, mostly because I don't want to completely erase the fact that I was once in a very important relationship. Maybe in time I'll feel the need to trash those, too, but for now they're in a box... where I probably haven't looked at them in over 2 years.

I don't have any of the gifts he gave me any more. None of the clothes I got that one happy Christmas. None of the mix cds he made. None of the artwork that he made for me. None of the trinkets and odds and ends he picked up as surprises for me. It never felt right to keep those reminders around.

But even though he is no longer relevant in my life... even though I so rarely think about him... he's always going to be part of my past. And sometimes it really is nice to reminisce a bit.

I'm proud of his sister. I felt really excited for her tonight. And I'm glad that at one point in my life, I knew her.


kilax said...

How interesting that it was his sister singing! Good for her! It's great that you have the right attitude and can be happy for both of them and at peace with your past.

Isn't it strange how we spend so much time with a person then it's over and the connection is gone? That has happened to me too. It seems like a waste of time, sometimes.

J said...

I feel very similar about my 4 year relationship that ended almost 3 years ago. It feels like I was a different person then and it wasn't even my life. Interesting how time changes everything. I have seen his parents around and been polite and talked with them. I haven't talked to my ex since about a month after we broke up because i found out he cheated on me (that wasn't the reason I broke up with him in the first place but it made me put him out of my life forever). we had a great friendship and I did miss that for a while but I moved on and have found new friends who don't hurt me and like me for who i am!

Patience said...

Thank you so much for this post. I dated a guy for five years and we had a very bad breakup. We don't speak, I avoid going home because our town is so small that I may run into him, and I would like to avoid that, but he does creep back into my mind every now and then. Because we have mutual friends I know everything about his life, but I often wonder if he ever thinks about mine. He was my first love and will always have a piece of my heart, but I am thankful for the time we did have together and also thankful it didn't work out. I am such a different person now and I know he would have held me back from my dreams. I wish we could be on good terms, but I doubt that will ever happen. God blessed me with the most perfect man for me and he will for you too.

Nicole said...

I'm so happy your getting this stuff off your chest! Thats crazy about his sister singing! :)

Its crazy the way things work out & how different you change in a few years!

love you!!!

Sharon said...

Beautiful post - thanks for sharing :)

Playful Professional said...

I do this sometimes too, hear a song or see something that reminds me of someone that was part of my past and isn't for one reason for another. And then I wonder if that song reminds them of me or if they ever think of me at all.

rinus said...

Nice blog you have and i like it!.
You can run a good marathon and your videoblog is good.
For a date!, you can run the marathon whit your date and after the marathon, you now a lot about him ;-).
Have fun and i wil follow your blog.
Greet Rinus from Holland.

Rachel H. said...

I have times when I am reminded of things that happened or pieces of previous relationships. I have a great husband now, and they are all in my past, but they'll all be part of my life somehow, and they are part of what made me who I am today. They molded part of my life and helped me grow...a very integral piece of life. And I'm friends with all of them of Facebook, and it works out okay! :)