One of the nice things about getting older is having fewer and fewer (what I call) Nervous System Shutdowns, those moments when looking back on an event makes you lose feeling from your gut out to your limbs, to the tips of your digits, followed by an instinctive eewwww or I can’t believe I fell for him/that or, alternately, I can’t believe I was so stupid/drunk/desperate.
I think we make better choices as we get older, so we have less cause for such recollections. More importantly, we learn to forgive ourselves for our indiscretions and mistakes, and the forgiveness creates more distance in between those debilitating memories. In those spaces I find myself a bit more nostalgic lately, randomly remembering things that make me laugh or feel good.
When I was at the Big E recently with my sister Liz and my nieces and nephews, I remembered being there in my twenties with Jill, indiscriminately tipping the bathroom attendants with singles from the pockets of her jacket that I was wearing. Meaning I was spending her money. And she didn’t get mad at me. I often think of how she would tap dance and sing down the aisles of 7-11 or anywhere she was inspired to embarrass me and make me laugh. I have at this point three decades from which to draw memories with Jill—most of which make me laugh, all of which make me miss her.
The same goes for experiences with other friends; though I have known them for fewer years, smiles outnumber Nervous System Shutdowns, which works out well. I’d rather chuckle or say aaawwww any day.