Late nights, and a mind full of memories. I scour the web for old social media, little windows into a distant past. With the end of Myspace I lost countless archives of personal history, the little stupid posts friends would leave perfectly time stamped so you could remember the date of a certain event or conversation, as well as all the private messages, groups, and the photos and comments on friends old pages. At least the photos are there still, for now. I’ve backed up as many as I can so they are not gone forever. Xanga also has deleted the old blogs, thankfully they offer a download, but the long lines of text embedded in html code aren’t the same as scrolling down through the years, looking at the posts from Christmases and New Years from over 7 years ago.
There’s a quote from one of my old favorite movies that goes like this, “ Before you drift off, don’t forget. Which is to say, remember. Because remembering is so much more a psychotic activity than forgetting.” I guess remembering too much can mean living in the past, but some things you just can’t forget. I certainly don’t regret anything, it’s just I had a great time in my teenage years and it’s hard not to mourn them, and to seek little windows to an exact moment in time frozen in cyberspace. Back then, there was this profound sense that things were really happening, and everyone was having a great time. It was easy to find company, to bullshit, to make fond memories out of seemingly uneventful days. You could wake up and reinvent yourself every day if you pleased. There didn’t need to be a special occasion to gather everyone to one spot and enjoy the companionship of my friends, and the nature right in my hometown. As the years kept rolling it became harder to coax formerly familiar faces out from their homes. College, part time and full time jobs, they all slowly started to take up more and more time until I barely saw more than three or four people at a time. Gatherings rarely happened anymore, and certainly not for more than a couple hours at a time. Yes, back in my teenaged years the sky seemed to be the limit. It felt like anything would be possible in my future, but as the years went on I felt the walls closing in on me more and more. Eventually my world of possibilities felt like it was reduced to a small cardboard box that I could barely fit in.
I worked a very labor intensive job for 8 hours a day, 6 days a week. The conditions were hazardous to my health (lead dust) and it was always above 100 degrees. I didn’t sleep right, didn’t think right, didn’t eat right, and didn’t feel right. Every night on the 45 minute drive to work I felt like I was willingly driving to prison. I could not have justified to my family or myself quitting such a good paying job, and so every night I worked while everyone else slept or had fun. It was like the spirit of the person I was, the creator, the thinker, the free spirit was dead. Those were hard times, and that close group of friends I relied on for years was looking like a world map post 1945. Everything was all carved up and sectioned off. There was no centralization of friendship anymore. Loyalties fell within spheres of influence, and the few non aligned parties were often divided in their feelings on the situation. Soon not even a remnant of the group I considered brothers remained. On top of that I was locked in a terrible relationship that lasted far too long, which meant I had the good fortune of knowing that while I slaved at work every night, the girl I was seeing was seeing other men and then blatantly lying about it. In short that time was shitty as hell, and extremely draining both mentally and physically. I was fed up and was desperate for an escape. I did the only thing I felt I could do, enlisted in the Navy. I knew it would be difficult, I knew it would be stressful, but it would get me out on my own two feet and at no one’s expense. I wouldn’t have to leach off of anyone, I wouldn’t be in debt, and best of all I could tell that job and everyone shitty in that town to go to hell. That was when I was still very angry inside.
Here I sit more than a year after making my decision and things are very different in my life. There have been unexpected fortunes that I am very grateful for. I am finally with the person I should have been with for years, although I don’t have the luxury of seeing her on a daily, or even monthly basis. I feel fortunate to have someone that can call me every night on the phone, and that is strong enough to endure the same heartache that I go through. She has restored my faith in relationships, but most importantly in trust. I still have the few true friends that matter to me, that actually have deep meaning and are not parasitic in nature. I am getting an education virtually for free, while getting paid, and will continue my education throughout my 5 years of service.
So in short I feel I did good, but I have a long way to go. I won’t truly be happy until I can reunite with those I love. Until then, their support will carry me through the trials I endure. For the first time in a long time I have a feeling of hope.