It happens to everyone, you get older, you amass a certain amount of time on this revolving door planet, you collect, in all spaces of your head, a catalogue of memories, ones that you hold onto tightly, and ones that you wish didn't take up quite so much room, but they're there, all the same. Part of you, your consciousness, your ghosts.
The good days zoom by. By the time you're in your mid-thirties, as I am, they still stand out. Maybe good days is not the right term--maybe it's the great days, the ones you can't believe you were ever lucky enough to have. For most people, that's the day they had their child, or children, or their wedding day. Graduation can rank high too. All those things that mark achievements, the passing of time. Mine are random and special. The day I moved into my condo, the one I saved for all by myself, and did the closing process on my own. The first day of my first real job, how I didn't know where to eat lunch, but I'd succeeded something all by myself nonetheless, even if I was making it up as I went along. My first day driving a car on my own. The day I picked up my black lab, Shadow and brought her home to my dad for Father's Day. Summer days, birthdays, good Christmases, when you realized you're in love with someone and felt like you couldn't live without them.
The more mediocre good days share head space too. Recognition at work from someone you value, getting that great parking spot, that amazing dinner.
But you can't have the good without the bad, right?
I remember all the sad days, the saddest saddest days. I've had my share. Cherished friends move away. You lose an opportunity you thought you had in the bag. A crime shatters some beliefs about people that were helping you get through life. Your dog comes to the end of her short life, and you berate yourself for not giving enough time.
Or someone you love is hurting. And you have to witness the whole thing.
Yesterday for me was one of those days. One of the people who I count as my favourite, out of a small pool, came to a conclusion of a long-suffering problem yesterday. I couldn't do much--you never really can in these situations. You are there as a comfort, a kind of talisman, touchstone, so that they can place this portion of their life, one of their sad days, in some kind of order, thinking that even though it was a sad day, an important person in their life provided some type of routine, of just sitting there, even if there wasn't much to say.
I thought that as I got older, I would get more into myself and feel other people's pain less, but that hasn't happened. Especially because I'm an older sister. And somewhere inside myself is that older sister, be it 6 years old to her 4, or 15 years old to her 13, that, despite our many differences and choices, I would do anything to spare the pain and take it on myself.
Yesterday reminded me that we are all on our own path, walking it in our own way, and the outcome sometimes doesn't really matter. It's more about the process, getting yourself there, in the way that you need to.
I will have this sad day with me for the rest of my life, especially the very end of the day, contrasting the beautiful happy day a few years ago, where anything seemed possible.