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Against the grain
September 10, 2012 - Carrie Olson
This time of year always brings back a flood of nostalgia. For my days running cross country, sweaty band uniforms and out-of-date textbooks. There is also this overwhelming feeling that a fresh start is more than possible. Crisp air and browning leaves seem to indicate that “it’s okay, this is a new beginning.”
I’ve been wrestling with that thought as I start a new life out east. Every day I pass the World Trade Center, a humbling reminder that nothing in my life is very hard. I can grumble and complain, be upset that not everything is going my way, and I look up. The towers stand majestic among the noise of jackhammers and honking horns, as construction continues and traffic never stops.
Although I miss my family terribly, I’ve needed this. To start over and move on from my past. In my life, there are a few things that I will always regret and are harder to forget. A dear friend of mine recently said that there is a reason why those sad moments happened in your life, to make you who you are today. I couldn’t agree more. But more than once I have looked at those times with a tinge of bitter sadness and wish for a different scenario. I’ve tried to keep those regrettable moments to a minimum as of late, but never succeed fully. I am getting better at it, though. Those instances may feel good at the time, but leave a festering scab that continues to peel.
Now, though, I am learning with difficulty that some moments, while tough, aren’t so regrettable. That while you may feel sad about the situation, it is clear what needs to happen. Such as ending a friendship or cutting off a relationship completely. That has happened in my not so distant past, and although I don’t like being an instigator, I also had to do what was right. You know, I’ve begun to trust my gut instinct and not run away from what it is telling me. It has taken me so long to not be completely impulsive and to listen, really listen, to what I need to do. In this instance, it wasn’t completely clear at first, as the past collided with my present thoughts. The memory of anger and betrayal over lies and manipulation took over, as my brain became frenzied and my face a tomato red.
Rather than go with my anger, I went on a run. I left those feelings of regret on the pavement. I knew I had to go against my own grain and do the right thing. In this case, the clarity became crystal. This relationship jeopardized what was most important to me: family. I knew that there was a right and wrong in this situation and no grey area. I’m not happy about what I had to do, but I don’t regret it. I would do it over again if need be.
I hate finality. I hate ending a friendship or cutting off something that is not healthy. A voice always enters my head saying, “Oh, don’t do that. You don’t want to do that.” But this is a new season, a new start. I’m not a child anymore, and must make decisions that are hard, and just move on.
This time of year, I think of not only the past, but also what I have had to leave behind. I’m a different person than I was five or ten years ago, and I am glad for that. I am nostalgic for those friendships I had so cherished, the newness of love and the innocence I lost. Now, though, I get off the subway and head to my destination. It’s my present, the here and now, that I must value most of all.
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