This past weekend I was in Minnesota. Yes, it was for a vacation... a gentle soul-searching and memorable-food-having and old-home-showing trip with Alex. On Sunday, we found ourselves in Eden Prairie (a suburb of Minneapolis) and I took her to see my old house, the last one I lived in with my family (July 1984 - June 1987), on the corner of Amsden Way and Talus Circle.
That night, on the plane back to Los Angeles, I tried to write a little essay about the feelings that seeing the old house stirred in me. It was the first thing I wrote in my new aluminum notepad, purchased from the Walker Art Center. I had planned to post the piece on here until I reread it last night and realized that it didn't quite say anything meaningful.
You see, the old house - the final place where I existed as part of an insular, semi-permanent family - didn't stir anything in me, other than an air of recognition and a slight twinge of excitability. Maybe it was because I only lived there for 3 years. Or maybe it was because I haven't lived there for nearly 20 years and the 17 places I've lived in since then have numbed me. Or maybe it was because I was largely an absent resident of that house - heading off to the movie theater for work, to the university for school, or to lots of bad restaurants for conversations with friends. Or maybe it's because I had spent 8 years in my Buckingham, PA house and those formidable years (10-18) resonate more than the later years (18-21). I'll just have to go to Buckingham some day and find out.
Or perhaps it's just I've overwhelmed myself with nostalgia lately. Just in this blog, I've written about my relatives' old neighborhood in Orange and the old workplace in Encino. I wrote 5,000 words or so that were ostensibly about college basketball but really about my past. In addition to that, I've driven past another half-dozen of my old workplaces and former homes in recent weeks. Does any of it really mean anything? Is it all that notable to say "I used to live there; that's where it didn't end well" or "I used to work there; I was never happy" or even "that was my favorite apartment; I used to walk into town for the paper."
I've met someone really amazing who wants to spend time with me. I'm living in a place (and time) that promises so many good new inspiring beautiful things that moving forward seems infinitely better than looking back. Sure, I'll still listen to some of the old songs as I consider purging old home furnishings (anyone want to buy a patterned rug? I have several) And old friends and, yes, even old places will still mean something to me. But the present and the future - all the "music and creative endeavors," all the "thoughtful conversation and peaceful disagreements," all the "open minded experiments" - will mean more.