I always used to hear people say, ‘the more things change, the more they stay the same’ and I have to admit I never really got it. If everything was different, how could there be any sense of normalcy? I didn’t get how two conflicting things could live as one. But recently the light bulb went off, and it does make a little sense. Sometimes things can change. We all know that. The years can pass and the friendships fade, but somewhere along the line that thing that rooted you so long ago makes itself known again. That thing that used to tie it all together presents itself, and you’re back. Transported back to a time when everything was certain. When the people around you were you friends instead of strangers. When life as you knew it made sense. But, you’re not really there. You’re you, however many years ago, but as the person you are now. Looking around a familiar room, watching a familiar show, hearing that one song, and you’re back. But you’re back with what you know now. You’re there with the scars healed and lessons learned. It’s a beautiful thing when that happens. When you get a chance to go back to a place that was so beloved. Back to people that made such an impact; to see where it all began.
You’re given this opportunity to visit the past. To return to times that were such defining moments in your life. All the confusion and uncertainty, you get to see why they happened. You get to see a place and the people you knew through a new set of eyes. You get to see how much you’ve grown. You get to go back as the person you are now and see the point of it all. This is your chance to see how it helped shape you as a person, how it molded who you’ve become. You get to see that it all mattered.
The thing is, too many of us are held prisoners by our past. We think that by looking back, we are somehow giving what’s over and done with too much power. And maybe we are. But the past doesn’t have to control you. Change doesn’t have to be a scary thing. You’re allowed to visit the past. You’re supposed to. You just can’t stay there. You have to allow yourself to see how much you’ve grown. To take a look at what you left behind, and know that it was for the best. After all, it got you to where you are now, right? So choose to let the past teach you instead of define you. To celebrate what’s become, instead of mourning what used to be. You’re allowed to seek refuge in the memories. In the places, the people, and the life you once knew. You get to have pride in your history. You get to smile at what used to be. Memories, good or bad, are made to be cherished. And just because they’re over, doesn’t mean they didn’t happen. So there’s no point in acting like they didn’t. Part of the beauty of life is the journey. It’s taking the baggage of our past and dumping it on the side of the road, but keeping what we learned along the way. It’s knowing that no matter how much things change, some things will truly remain. Maybe it’s not the people, maybe it’s not the places along the way, but maybe, just maybe, it’s the memories you keep.