Thursday, June 2, 2011

Post Youth Blues

Sitting on my patio and reminiscing.
A friend of mine just spent a semester abroad in Europe, and posted pictures of some of her final days out of the country.  As I looked through them, I imagined that feeling you get when you come home from a vacation, and you feel sad that it's over.  The technical term for that phenomenon is "Post Vacation Blues."  

As I scrolled down the page, I saw a status update from my very first boyfriend ever.  He just friended me this week, for what reason I don't quite know, but seeing his post I decided to take a look at his profile to see what's been up in his world.

As I scrolled through posts of him being grateful for the blessings in his life, pictures of his wife and children, vacations, celebrations---all of these life events that had occurred over the past 16 years since we'd first met---I was struck with what I'd have to call "Post Youth Blues."

Suddenly memories of the summers we dated started flooding back: Trips to the local roller rink and skating to songs like 2 Hyped Brothers and a Dog "Doo Doo Brown" and Michael Penn "No Myth".  That second song was actually playing as we skated to a dark corner and I had my first kiss.   (Yes, in a roller rink.  I know.)

But back to those memories:

The confusion of finally having a boyfriend and not really knowing what to do now that I did.

Nights on the porch swing where there was little talking and lots of innocent (and sometimes awkward; I was a late bloomer---brutally flat-chested until I turned 18.  Ugh.) making out.

Thinking in my head that this was forever (even though I always knew better...but I was 14, give me a break, all right?)

There were phone conversations that lasted HOURS.  What we talked about, I don't even know.  A lot of those conversations were us reenacting scenes from Beavis and Butthead:  particularly this gem.

Getting flowers delivered regularly.  The boy sent me roses every month on our monthly "anniversary."

Yep, every month in the summer of 1995, I got roses delivered to my door with a little card that said, "Happy anniversary!  I love you. -Mike."

Which of course leads me to the biggest, most monumental, and fondest memory: having a boy tell you he loves you for the very first time.

I mean, even though we really had no clue what that meant back then.  No real idea what it means to truly be in love with someone--the joys and the pains. The strength it takes.  We hadn't worked those muscles yet.  We were practicing for later on in life when things got more complicated.  When people weren't as naive about what it means to love and be loved---or not.

And actually, maybe it was love.  The purest, most innocent form.  Our hearts and heads weren't jaded.  We liked each other.  We laughed with each other.  We sat on porches and rode bikes and talked about things that teenagers talked about.

Our arguments were even innocent.  Although one might say they were miniature versions of arguments to come in future relationships.  You know, one of us choosing our friends over each other.  An ex-girlfriend calling.  Discovering that said ex-girlfriend had forever tagged the playground slide in permanent marker with "Sarah loves Mike."  Then discovering that they had "a song" (Black Hole Sun was their song--I know...right?) and arguing that WE didn't have a song...then trying to decide what our song should be and arguing over that.  (I wanted Chicago "We Can Last Forever."  We ended up with Boyz II Men "Water Runs Dry."  Eerily telling, no?)

I'm on a tangent now.  Point is, it was so simple back then.  So sweet.  A girl and a boy, trying to explore what this dating thing was all about.  Wobbly and awkward, like a baby deer.

Also back then, talks with my best girl friends centered around being silly and discussing what we thought sex was like.  (Because we had no idea.)

Whereas nowadays, we're discussing the pains and toils of failed relationships, a lack thereof, or incredibly mixed signals.  We also talk about sex...but with a keen understanding of it all: the good, the bad, and the terribly, terribly ugly.  Or again, the complete lack thereof.

We still act silly though.  Which I'm grateful for.

And dating?  Ah.  It's not as fun and exciting anymore.  There are no true firsts.  Instead, it's a series of replaying past experiences.  Lessons learned, although great, lend themselves to fear and hesitancy.  Or complete apathy. (Which is the state I'm currently in.)

And it can seem like there are no more carefree summers of exploring the yet untouched stepping stones of life.  Summers now just seem like warmer work days.  There are still groceries to be bought, bills to be paid, stresses to combat. 

After seeing Mike's Facebook page and going on a road trip to the Summer of 1995, it's as if I've just gotten back from a vacation to my youth, and I've got those pesky blues.

But life is a beautiful thing...because on the journey back to the present, I passed some remarkable moments: other summers with other memories, the birth of my son, graduating from college, improv.

I might not be getting roses every month in the Summer of 2011.  Heck, I might not even have a date.  But maybe, just maybe...16 years from now, I'll be sitting on my patio on a warm June day, listening to music or looking through old pictures, and I'll think to myself, "Man, that Summer of 2011---it was really, really great."

We'll always have the "Post Youth Blues" I guess.  But the older we get, the better the journey back to the present becomes.  Our stepping stones less pristine, of course, but marked with memories and moments that help us get back to who we truly are.

Still, I wouldn't mind a trip to the roller rink in the near future.


  1. Very interesting. You are a very creative person and would love to continue reading about what goes on in your mind.

  2. Ahh, the blues. Such a wonderfully bittersweet phase of life that seems to come around more frequently than is good for us. Or so we think. I can assure you that one day you will be sitting on your porch and flicking through digitized memories on your virtual data screen rendered in 3D - and most probably with the same person you made those memories with. You're young, smart, strikingly beautiful and have a thumping great human heart with so much to give.
    Be patient, don't rush it. Apathy is ok. Think of it as neutral gear - when the light turns green engage first and roar off. Because the light will turn green when you're least expecting it to. Life has a way of delivering the best surprises that way.