Surprisingly emotional reaction, looking back over the years

Did anyone look at the photos or videos of the Royal Wedding? My mom said Kate looked beautiful, so I checked out CNN. Indeed, she was a stunning bride and had such a happy glow about her. What a classy, elegant dress!

I found myself with a bit of a lump in my throat and have spent some time trying to figure that out. I am a subscriber to US Weekly so you might think I was just celeb gawking, but magazines like US are just escapist, silly forms of amusement. Watching Kate step out of the car and walk towards the ceremony- it was different; she just radiated youth and happiness and promise. I remember feeling all those things in spades nearly seven years ago, and while I do feel, proudly so, that my marriage is better than ever, now, I can’t help but feel a bit churned up. Why?

It’s rather the same feeling I’ve had before, thinking back over the freedom and whimsy of old relationships, youth in general. I’ve never been a big Facebook person, but I recently discovered the ‘find friends’ tab- I thought you had to search it, but no! There before you are tons of pictures of people from your past and current lives. Tom was out of town, and I must have spent an hour scrolling through all the faces, some once such good friends or close acquaintances, sorority sisters, college dorm-mates, colleagues, friends of my parents(!), and so forth.

I saw my two college loves, friends whom I miss, former friends I don’t, and I felt the same way I did looking at these wedding pictures. Emotional, that lump in my throat, scrolling back through the pages of me that are, in some ways, hardly recognizable anymore.

I remember that my last college exam was from 5:30-7:30p on June 9. As I left the final and headed towards my boyfriend’s dorm, I realized that at that very moment, 25 years before, my parents had just said “I Do.” It was such an odd, jarring, juxtaposition.

As I think they were for many people, my twenties were a hard, hard decade. You’re thrust out of the cocoon that is college into a world you navigate on your own: supporting yourself, commencing grad school and/or careers, relationships, new cities, the growth that comes from failure, disappointments and mistakes. On top of all that, you, in some form or fashion, have to process this all.

Those are critically important years, and I am a very different person, gratefully so, than I was when I left college. But that maturation comes with much loss, and even though you might love where you end up (as I do), it is nonetheless bittersweet.

It is fortunate that I bought 5 quarts of strawberries earlier as I’m going to have to pour my emotions into a major canning episode. Oh, and some wine. ;)