Some people reminisce constantly about this or that thing that happened at school.
Others can’t help harking back to the summer after they’d done their GCSEs – and yes, that was fun, all those parties on that field, grimy as hell and messy as anything but good fun. And I enjoyed them but I don’t want to go back there and do it all over again.
I have some friends who loved college so much that nothing since has compared to how much they enjoyed themselves in sixth form, found themselves a good group of friends and did everything together and even despite the drama, or maybe because of it, it was worth it to them. I went to two separate colleges in my time and I don’t really miss either of them. I miss what they could have been but that isn’t the same thing.
I have other friends who I know hope that we will always be in the same friendship group, meeting up at Christmas or during the summers – hoping that nothing will ever change, and that our children will roam our perfect English Country gardens only a few miles from where our parents live now.
And then other people I know settled right in at university, and nothing in their life so far compares to the experiences and friendships they’ve made in the last year, or two, or three, or four.
Everyone has some era they attach themselves to. All their closest friends and fondest memories are from that time in their lives, and if they’re not still experiencing it they do what they can to go back there and recreate it whenever and wherever possible.
Now, I don’t necessarily see anything wrong with that. But I seem to be the only person who hasn’t found their place and time, not yet. I have a lot of friends in a lot of places, and I am very happy, and with some groups I do feel that I’ve found some kind of family, a sense of homecoming the moment I walk through the door into the pub or T’s house or wherever we happen to be. I don’t have to be anyone but myself.
But I don’t think of that time or that group as the be-all and end-all, the pinnacle of my life thus far, and in some ways I feel like I’m missing out because I’ve never laid down those kinds of nostalgic roots. I know there are some things I did literally miss out on which might have made me connect more strongly to one group or another but essentially I have always been a drifter and until I stop drifting I’ll never grow those shoots, those connections that keep some people together for years after school or college or university is long gone. And instead I get a horrible sense of nostalgia for what could have been.
But at least I don’t spend my days wishing and trying to get back there myself, for real. I don’t still send round emails to friends I haven’t really talked to in years, truth be told, trying to get them to come back to that field with me and get themselves utterly wasted before freezing slowly to death under the old oak trees by the river. I don’t lament invitations that never come to parties filled with people who haven’t had anything in common for three or four years. I keep moving forwards, and that’s fine.
I just sometimes wonder if I’ve just never found my place enough to miss it, and if it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all, am I fundamentally missing out?
I don’t really know what I’m saying. I should go to bed.