Monday, September 10, 2007

out of step

So, I know you know that my month-long job started on Friday (and, by the way, isn't a Friday a very good day for a first day? You go through all that paper work and figuring out where you'll sit and who's who and what your password is, and then before you know it, it's time to go home and you can think about it all later), and I am the "one of these things doesn't belong here" person. And it's not because I have been hired to fill in for a new mom who is on maternity leave (so really, I don't belong...permanently, that is). Rather, it's because it's my old company and we've both had some major changes happen to us since I last left the building. My company and me. Major changes since I left it and it said goodbye to me. That was a few years ago, and yet a lifetime ago.

It is strange to come back to a place where your memories of it are all the people inside, and now those people are gone. And you are gone, sort of. The person you used to be is gone, anyway. Your friends have moved on, the business has changed, you've gotten a little older, hopefully wiser. I see ghosts as I move about the hallways. A ghost of me from that not so distant past: wearing stylish clothes, talking to her boyfriend on the phone, making plans for the weekend (new restaurant? cubs game? movie? see friends? it was all possible, especially sleeping in on weekends.) Ghosts of my former colleagues and friends, people I loved who have moved, or moved on, and who I only keep up with in distant e-mails or by way of a not so up to date grapevine. Ghosts of the clients we used to keep, the businesses I worked on that have now changed so much.

Around me I see younger girls, gentle reminders of what I must have been, must have looked like, must have appeared to be. They are young and hip, talking about their weekend plans at places I don't know, neighborhoods I haven't been to in ages. They are bright and ready to take on the world. I look at them and wonder, what will your story be? How will it unfold for you?

As I walk to and from the train station now I think about my commute during my city days. Light steps on the sidewalk, upturned collar and chin down to face the Chicago winter wind, hurrying up the stairs to the L platform, changing out of my snow boots once I arrived at the office. Or catching the bus at Dearborn/Lake with the other Lincoln Park twenty somethings, each of us clutching our Tribune as we wove our way up through rush hour traffic.

My life has changed in many ways since my days as young girl in the city. But don't misunderstand, I'm not sad about it. Instead, I'm enjoying the walk down memory lane, the chance to reflect on a past tense "me" that I don't think about very often. Once in awhile it's a good thing to open the memory book up, dust off the pages, and immerse yourself in what used to be. How it all used to feel back then.

Some day I'll think about my life in the Little Cottage and what it felt like on a night like tonight. And I know those memories will be just as sweet, if not sweeter.

8 comments:

Hemstitch & Hydrangea said...

This is byh far one of my favortie posts I have eer read. I can totally relate- and it is so well written- I am there with you as I read it and know exactly how you feel- my memories are in DC, but the story is the same- wow!

I too am a sentimental soul- the last night in college I wrote a letter to myself of everything I wanted to remember about college, myself and the person I had become- the day I got my bid card as I sat in the Vice Presidents room of my sorority house 4 years later. I have only written in that journal the night before I have left each place I have lived since- it has reminded me each day I move into the next one- a huge part of my life will happen here- value it- because there will be an entry when I leave as to how I used this precious time-

Good for you to get to go back- its never the same is it? I watched Baby Boom this afternoon while folding laundry- we may not be the "Tiger Lady" anymore but will always have her in us.

Enjoy this time- good luck and have fun!

Anne

linda said...

What a great post!!! I can totally relate. My husband and I lived on the Upper East Side of NYC for 9 years, I worked on Wall Street.

Now, I am a suburban Mom and it's all about chauffering my daughter to school and her afterschool activities,and volunteering. She's almost on the verge of being a teenager and those sweet years of childhood will be behind us.

I feel blessed to have both experiences. Enjoy every minute of this time!
-Linda

paige said...

sweet refeclections meg, so sweet.

Nunnie's Attic said...

This was a wonderful post. I could easily see the images in my head. Some were my own memories and some were created with you in mind.

Enjoy the job and your trip down memory lane.

Love,
Julie

tulipmom said...

In a way I envy this chance you have to step back into the past as the "new and improved" person you are today.

I often wonder how I will look back on these days years from now.

Libby said...

Thank you for blogging with such beautiful insight, Meg.

velvet brick said...

What a beautifully written reflection... very evoking of thought and mental images.

Thank you for sharing your gift with us...
VB

Dena ~ swaddlecottage said...

What a wonderful post and deliciously visual. I could almost smell the surroundings. I too am at that point of reflection an often find myself reflecting on the same thoughts. So very good to know I'm not alone. This age is good indeed.