Tuesday, August 07, 2007
To Shred and Remember
Tomorrow my husband, his dad and two buddies are going to Alaska for a week of fishing salmon and halibut. Hubby has been counting down the days like a kid waiting for Christmas, and I have to admit I'm looking forward to a little "single girl" time, too.
During his week away Mabel and I are heading south to Morgantown, West Virginia. I lived in and around this little college town for five years, and they were five eventful years. When I first moved there I was a temporary employee and worked at several different places. I was a temp the longest at West Virginia University (Go Mountaineers!), and then I finally got a full-time job at The Dominion Post newspaper. I made so many good friends there, and it was while living there that I adopted Mabel.
There were a lot of good memories about Mo-town, but there were some bittersweet ones, too. I moved down there for a man, thinking this was The One, but after trying hard for almost four years, I had to quit banging my head against a brick wall and walk away. I don't really consider it a bad memory, though, because I left on my terms and felt stronger and more self-confident than I ever had in my life. I suppose that's why I took the leap and went through the adoption process -- if figured I could survive that relationship, I could handle anything. Which is funny, because since the adoption I've said in difficult times, "If I can get through an international adoption, I can get through anything." Funny how we change the barometer of stress and difficulty in our lives.
Anyway, the purpose of this trip is twofold: do some back-to-school shopping for Mabel (what joy to go to an area that has more to offer than just a Hell-Mart like our little town!) and to visit old friends. Yesterday I spent a good amount of time on the telephone and e-mail tracking people down and scheduling times to meet up with these people.
I talked for about an hour with B., who is the sister-in-law of my Ex. We became very good friends during my relationship with her brother-in-law, so close in fact that she went with me to Vietnam when I adopted Mabel. We caught up on each other's lives, our families and our work. I had to bite the bullet and ask about the Ex, and I was actually kind of glad to hear that he got a good job and is doing charity bike runs with his motorcycle. He's still battling his diabetes and his fondness for alcohol, but it sounds like he's making the effort to deal with both.
Is it odd to wish the Ex well? It didn't help me to hold on to old hurts and slights, so they've just kind of faded away. I don't carry around a lot of hatred or resentment for the guy, because the truth of it was he just wasn't cut out to live with another person. And like I said, it made me a stronger, more self-reliant person, so there was some good that came out of it.
To further this look back, I finally started one of my Procrastination Projects this morning and started shredding old receipts, most of them from my Morgantown days. Even though they were only old utility bills or bank statements from closed accounts, they all brought back memories. Names I hadn't thought about in years popped up at me, and recalling things I had purchased and thought important at the time.
It's moments like these to see how far we've really come, how we've matured, learned and changed. While I'm still Me, I do feel like I was a different person back then, and the extra 100 pounds was only a part of it. I've learned so much about myself, about what's really important to me, and I'm making headway with issues I never thought I'd be able to come to grips with. It's a good feeling to know that in many ways I'm a better person than I was then. Not perfect, but better. That's all we can ask for.