As I approach the five-year mark of my anniversary to Lena, a few things have become obvious: this is here to stay, and the past is the past (and it should remain in the past).
A couple of things have happened lately that bring this full-circle. Firstly, David has moved out-of-state to start a new life with his girlfriend. This happened several months ago, but my contact with him remains to be a bit limited. Perhaps this is just part of growing-up and finding his own way. Still, this is the new reality, having less contact with him, especially now that he has moved outside California.
Second, my old house on Elderwood was up for sale a couple of weeks ago and there was an open house that Sunday. I was very anxious to see it in person, after having lived there for 14 years. In most of the pictures on-line, there was evidence of my own hard work from whence I once lived there. It started to bring back a flood of memories and experiences, from my previous marriage, and from when my kids were younger. They were happy times, the starting of a young family, but certainly not without its issues. I did not want to “revisit” the house where memories are in the past with my ex-wife, so, the more I thought about it, the more I decided it was best to not go and just leave it in the past. That was then, this is now.
Lastly, I was going through some boxes in the garage just yesterday as I start to embark on yet another home project. I came across a box I had packed from moving from Fig Tree. We have lived at the new house for a year-and-a-half now, and this was probably the last unopened box. The box was marked “Firebird”, so I knew that it had a car model of a Firebird that David and I never put together :( But then I found a bunch of other papers and envelopes and postcards. At first I didn’t recognize it, but then I realized they were from my penpal in Finland. I was amazed at how much she had written me or sent me postcards from her travels.
The letters dated from 1997 to 2005. While I was curious to read through them, it was re-living memories that had no place in my life any more. I have moved on. In a very real way, it was bittersweet, because I had been writing her since about 1992. I glanced at a few letters, and most started off with “Sorry I find it so hard to write lately….”, which clearly shows that the long-distance relationship was not meant to be. It was once a fantasy to go to Finland and meet her – which still could happen some day – but now it is different. I have settled into a relationship that I have had for some 17(!) years now (having just past our 17th anniversary mark of our first “date”).
Things are different now, and while I once was adamant about holding on to these memories, they belong in the past. Even the last few emails (2013?) were a bit of a struggle. She has moved on with her life, and me with mine. While I will always enjoy the escape she gave me from my life and marriage at the time, they are now just memories of the past. I don’t believe you can totally “trash” the past (or the person) since you did at one time have nice memories of that person, whether it be a penpal or an ex-wife. After viewing a few sentences here or there, it was time to permanently delete these letters and postcards … and they were all shredded. Bittersweet, but it isn’t “right” to hold on to them unless I am in a relationship with that person.
Life goes on.