Monday, April 20, 2009

I don't know where love goes.

I described this past weekend to a friend as an extended slumber party, and that wasn't far wrong; my friends Karen Olson, Alison Gaylin and I went to Murder 203, and Karen kindly put Alison and me up at her house.

We're no longer as young as we used to be (okay, I am not as young as I used to be -- Karen and Alison are as young as they ever were, and may they always be so), so we didn't stay up very late, and no one's hair color is different today than it was on Friday. But we did spend a lot of time exchanging human interest stories about mutual acquaintances, and telling embarrassing anecdotes about our own adventures.

I found myself talking about an on-again, off-again relationship that ended a few years ago -- and realized that I could no longer remember several key details about where we'd gone and what we'd done, even though at the time those things seemed critically important. The man in question and I didn't part on particularly bad terms, and we're still cordial to each other, but I realized on Saturday night that I have no idea where he is, what he's doing or whom he's seeing, and I'm not even very interested.

Alison asked, "Where does that go?" and I had to admit I didn't know. "People change," I said feebly, but that much, that fast? It's not that the old emotions weren't real, or that I mistook them for something they weren't -- I know that I did feel that way, but can't dredge up even the faintest echo of that feeling, and when I run into this man at professional events (as I sometimes do), he's not much more than a stranger to me. The person I was when I was seeing him is almost a stranger to me as well.

Is this a sign of some dissociative mental illness, or just the normal process of getting on with one's life? Does it only happen after the age of 40?

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Maybe the stranger you used to be and the stranger he used to be packed it up and took it with them, knowing you wouldn't need it anymore. You are kind of a pack rat.:)

Could it be that keep what we need? The rest falls away while you aren't tending to it.

Susan

Anonymous said...

I remember talking to a friend of mine about my ex-wife and he commented, "Oh that's right. I forget that you had a whole life before we became friends," and it was a different life.. I was a different person and THAT person was married to that other person. I haven't seen or spoken to the ex for nearly 20 years and I wonder if we would even have anything to say to each other. And yet, there was at time....

RJB

lawlis42 said...

I was thinking about how grateful I am that we eventually get to that point where we stop experiencing the pain of loss or rejection. Can you imagine what life would be like if we carried all of those individual hurts in all of their glory to the end of our days? And perhaps it gets easier as we age because we have more experience in love and life and we know that it will get better.
(Or it's mental illness. At least the make pills for that.)

Laura Benedict said...

Healing, maybe? I have to agree with lawlis...Can you imagine what our lives would be like if our memories remained vivid and perfectly intact--forever? That would be so strange, and, I think, awfully painful. I wonder if we'll remember things in greater detail when we're very old. I hear that happens.

Hmmm. I feel a story coming on....

I hope you're at the point where you can pull up some happy memories about your time together.

AnswerGirl said...

Well, this was where the discussion came from -- because Alison has just signed a three-book deal for a series about a character who remembers every detail of her life, forever.

My own memory used to be uncomfortably acute, to the point that if I said I didn't remember something I was usually lying, and assumed that others were lying when they claimed not to remember. But my memory is not what it used to be, and I have noticed myself forgetting more and more, or confusing the order and causality of events in my mind. I'm okay with that; it feels like a kindness.

Laura Benedict said...

Yay! for Alison!!!! I like her work a lot.

Mercy is a wonderful thing. xo

Karen Olson said...

I remember painful stuff more so than the good stuff. What's up with that??

It was a blast last weekend!!