Wednesday, April 27, 2011

old loves

What is it about recalling long-ago love that causes such delicious pain? Why do we hang on to our happy-sad memories, cling to thoughts of past love affairs, muse about old lovers with fondness and regret, even when we are perfectly happy with what we have now? Is it some twisted form of self-torture? Is it an example of our eternal ingratitude; is it sign of our grasping greedy times?

Recently, I heard news of an old boyfriend. He sounded much nicer than when I dated him. It seems he has grown up and changed (not so surprising, since it was almost 20 years ago that we dated!). Since part of the way I had gotten over him, all those years ago, was to remind myself of what a jerk he was, this news of his seeming kindness and stability was somewhat disturbing. I found myself wondering what he is like now, and I caught myself remembering some of the good times we had, long ago. Then I felt guilty, because that seemed treacherous. I love my husband, I think he's gorgeous in every sense of the word, and he and I just fit. I can't imagine being married to anyone else. So what's with the daydreaming of lost love?

I am remembering what it felt like to be infatuated. That silly, idolising, heady sort of love. That immature, not-always-self-respecting, slightly-obsessive sort of love. It usually ends in pain for someone, but it is exciting and exhilarating and it mostly happens when you're young. It seems to me that what this is really about is me being nostalgic about my silly, giddy, anything-is-possible youth. These days I am middle-aged, my right knee keeps hurting, I am getting jowls, and my husband rolls his eyes at most of my jokes, but back then I was a fresh-faced, willowy strawberry blond who was smart and passionate and funny, and it seemed like the world was just unfolding in front of me in all its wonder.

My ex-boyfriend seems to have turned out to be a decent enough sort of man. I'm glad he has made a good life for himself. I remember the fun we had together, but I also remember that he didn't make me feel adored; there was no constancy. We were wrong together. We didn't fit.

I remember my long-ago love with a certain fondness, but it is like a garment outgrown or worn thin. It used to be my favourite shirt, but now it is shabby and faded and I can hardly remember why I liked it so much. I fold it and put it away at the back of the cupboard. It is only a rag now (but I can't quite throw it out).


38 comments:

Stomper Girl said...

Maybe it was your good influence that steered him to become a better man later in life?

I'm so glad I ditched my ex and met Fixit. The ex was so immature and I remember thinking I didn't want to have babies with him because I didn't think he'd be mature enough to handle them. Apparently he has a kid now, I often wonder how that went and whether his wife had to kick his arse into shape

thisisme said...

Oh, it is so lovely to see you. It's fun remembering the past, and wondering what if, but there is a reason they are in the past.

Just fitting is wonderful.

rel said...

Jellyhead,
Your last Paragraph nailed it!
We are multifaceted beings and we constantly reassess where we've been to help us choose where we're going, what new endeavors to take up and what to leave behind.
Looking back, I think, sometimes, there are things I'd have done differently. Not many though, because then I'd not be who I am today. Like you, I suspect, I like who I am today.
Old girl friends come to mind from time to time; I thank them for what I learned.
rel

Pam said...

How lovely to have been a willowy blonde...

I was never particularly willowy. Or at all blonde.

Nice to see you back! And nice that you still love your husband.

Alipurr said...

stopping by to say hi :)
sometimes life is all about our perspective, isn't it?
I am like you....so many things in my life I couldn't imagine any other way, and I am so glad I ended up with the sweet husband I have.

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Kerri said...

Hi Jelly,
It's lovely to read your thoughts after not visiting for so long. I haven't been very active in the blogging world lately.
Yes, strange beings, we are, dredging up happy-sad memories and thinking of those past love affairs as...well...romantic.
We are both very lucky to have found "comfortable shirts" who make us feel adored :)
I'm so glad you stayed safe and dry through those awful floods. And glad to hear Jellyma made it through safe and well fed too.
I hope you and your family are well and enjoying life.
xox

Meggie said...

What a wise, and familiar feeling this post had for me.
Remembering past 'loves' can make me cringe at times! I am glad I met a man who, 'fit'.

Sandy Hatcher-Wallace said...

Sometimes past loves aren't as good as we remembered them either, especially when you get to be my age. I am just where I should have been all the time with my comfortable shirt that fits me very well.

manababies said...

I can certainly relate. Though often when I take the thought full circle I remember the heartbreaking end. :( I guess the same goes for those shirts that have accumulated in the bottom drawer that I can't seem to bring myself to donate. I try them on, realize they aren't that comfy (and some are actually sort of ugly), but they get tucked away again.

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Wish you were still blogging. I really enjoyed reading your updates.

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