Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Summer I Didn't Care

You know how we all laid awake in our beds every night of our high school lives thinking about all the things we could've said? Or how we said the right thing, but probably could've said it better? Or how we said the right thing as well as we could've said it, but maybe should've said less or more? I stopped doing that after high school. For like a year, maybe. Or just a summer, actually.

There was this naive excitement about being an adult, about moving away from the small town I grew up in, about being surrounded by strangers, about my first apartment, about the city and its diverse populace that caused me to think that I was suddenly immune to anyone's opinion of me. It was like I was bungee jumping without realizing I was bungee jumping. Like I actually thought I was brave enough to just jump off of a bridge with no tether or harness or cord.

I fell free for those few hot months before I noticed something like a hand clenched around my ankle. And then it caught me and slowed me and pulled me back up, and I realized with a start that I still cared. That I hadn't completely left the bridge at all, that the bridge was attached to me and that the bridge was now rushing towards me again and that at the end of this ride, I'd be standing on it. On the bridge. And that the rush was nice, and the butterflies, but that I wasn't brave enough to do what I thought I'd done.

I didn't sit down meaning to write any of that right now.

I was listening to CDs from that summer this morning - from The Summer I Didn't Care - and they made me feel really happy, so I sat down to write about them (it's what I do). I had my headphones on and a cup of coffee and I squinted at the screen for a minute, trying to pinpoint what exactly it was that the music was attached to, and I pulled a little and this all came out. And I thought, "Oh. Yes, that's it. Of course it is."

I miss that summer like it's a place on the planet. I miss the freedom that comes from not second-guessing everything I say and do or worrying that other people are judging all my decisions, or freaking out that every person in the world doesn't like me. I mean, there are enough things to weigh a person down - gravity, reality, etc - without also being ridiculously worried about other people thinking things about you that they're probably not actually thinking about you.

I could go back there again.

So that's something to work on. Another thing, I guess. There are lots of things to work on. Isn't it nice that we have time and grace and help?