Hearts and thoughts, they fade / fade away
--"Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town"
I was never a big Pearl Jam fan, but those lyrics have stuck with me--more poignant at 35 than they were at 16.
Nostalgia is something I've been falling into more of late. Almost anything will do it, from the season finales of That 70s Show or The Office to a song on the radio. It's not any sense of unhappiness with my life now, but the realization of how many people and places that have passed through my life, (likely) never to return.
Moving on is different from letting go, and to be truthful I have never been good at the latter. We've no choice but to move on; time marches forward, inexorable. But letting go means acknowledging that a relationship or part of our life has already had its beginning, middle and end. And it's that last part that can sting.
It's more likely with each passing day that I've reached mathematical middle age, and I'm sure this is all perfectly cliche. My struggle is that it's tougher to really invest in new relationships. When you're a kid you assume that everyone you meet will be in your life forever--at least, I did. But as an adult I know that the likelihood of any new relationship being long term is astronomical because, well--entropy.
Entropy seemed intensely cool as a high school sophomore. It was explained to me as the scientific principle that everything breaks down--everything. Things decay, systems devolve into disorder. As a teenager it was super dark and attractive, but I think of it now when I remember friends long gone. Energy spent to maintain those friendships is simply less and less efficient until they die (or transform into Facebook connections, which...well, anyway).
But nostalgia can also be rewarding. It forces me to dig for the roots or foundation of my life, chief of all my faith in Christ. I can also appreciate that it has been ten wonderful years with my wife, something I am immensely proud of. Though I fall short of the believer and the husband I could or should be, I can also see growth. My wife and I are not the same people we were ten years ago, but God willing, we're better for it.