Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The persistence of memory

Of course I always knew that time would seem to accelerate exponentially as I got older. What I didn't expect was that things that happened so recently would feel like they happened forever ago. The cliche I heard the most about growing up was that everything feels like it happened "only yesterday". That's not been my experience.

What I didn't forsee was that my life would split into two phases. I can draw a clear line between Before I Found Out Wendy Was Pregnant and After I Found Out Wendy Was Pregnant, and everything B.I.F.O.W.W.P. seems like it came from an entirely different life than A.I.F.O.W.W.P. And I realize now that this is how I will view the rest of my life. My memories from before that time will always seem far, far removed from where I am today, no matter how vivid they are or how closely they resemble my current life. And my memories from after will always seem like they just happened, even though so much has changed since then.

I'm kind of OK with this. I can pinpoint the exact moment where I became old, or at least where I came to terms with the age I am. And my life changed in so many ways that it's not even recognizable with what it used to be like. There are times when I miss my life B.I.F.O.W.W.P., but I had plenty of that life, I know what it was like, and it's impossible to go back to that, so there's not a whole lot of point in dwelling on it.

What this is all saying is that I'm now in the second phase of my life, and I'm only now just realizing it. There may be more, but this is definitely a distinctly second phase. Maybe there will be a time someday where this phase feels like it happened much longer ago than it does now. It seems like it would take something pretty drastic to transition into another phase, though. It took having a kid just to have more than one.


Austin said...

I often jokingly refer to the times before Tracie was pregnant as "The Good Old Days," something that will doubtless be used by Morgan as fodder for his psychotherapy later in life.

So far my life has been divided into three stages, age 0-15 is pre-cancer, 15-22 is post-cancer pre-Tracie, and now 22 on up is life with Tracie.

The birth of my child has changed everything but I still have Tracie and hope to continue, but I can see how becoming a parent can shift your paradigm or way of thinking.

For what it's worth I've always thought of you as an adult, not old but an adult as long as I've known you, granted it's only been like 3 years, but still.

Jacob I. McMillan said...

Austin, if you ever feel like writing a full account of your cancer experience, I'd totally read it.

Austin said...

I once wrote a 20 page paper for my senior English class about my cancer experience. I don't remember much about it but I think the paper was nearly as bad as the cancer.

Tracie said...

My life is broken up into many more several distinct time periods. Each event/time period significantly altered my life and my perception of myself and my views on the world.

They are as follows:

Premove (I moved when I was 10)
Post high school/The Steve Period
My summer on my own/The Jonathan Period
Life Post-Jonathan
The Devon Period/Pre-Austin as my BF
Life with Austin dating
Life with Austin marriage
Life with Austin post-Morgan

Now I'm eagerly awaiting the next big era: Life with Austin and Morgan after Austin finally graduates and I'm no longer forced to be under house arrest in my own home.

I tried to narrow it down, but I really couldn't because those really were important time periods. Other significant life events have happened (graduation, friends, etc.), but the time periods I have listed above of, like I said, were more than just life events or transitions, they forever altered me. (For instance, graduating from college was a significant life event and transition, but I don't feel it merits being mentioned as "changing who Tracie is as a person or forever changing my worldview.")

Tracie said...

Not that it's my list, but I think there's good argument that Austin neglected to mention other stages of his life. I know for a fact that events both pre- and post-mission were significantly important to him.

I would suggest to him that
*post-cancer pre-mission and
*post-cancer post-mission pre-tracie
are two more significant stages.

Since I'm supposed to be sleeping right now, I'll just talk to Austin later and see if he agrees.