Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A story's time

Lately I've been reading memoirs in which women recount their days of being young and single and playing the field. These books brought back to me the emotional storms of those years: the infatuations, the giddy waiting for a call. Planning what to wear, looking forward all week to a date, analyzing words and conversations for clues about where the relationship is going. The women in these books kiss a lot of frogs, figuratively speaking, looking for their princes; they make a lot of the same mistakes I made. They make me realize I'm glad to be past those years myself. That was a time of excitement and promise, but also plenty of pain and disappointment and uncertainty.

It got me thinking about perspective, and how the stories we tell change over the years. The meaning, or at least our interpretation, of the stories changes as we grow older, and as we grow. We stop trying to fit in, stop seeking the approval of people who don't matter. We get tired of trying to change the bad boy into a good guy, or of trying to force the chemistry with the wrong (albeit perfectly nice) guy. There comes a time when putting on ankle-breaking heels to stand in a loud smoky room late at night no longer seems like fun.

Sometimes we realize that certain things were never fun; we were faking it all along, fooling ourselves. Other times really were fun then, but wouldn't be if we tried to repeat them today.

The stories I wrote about my life then are different from the way I would describe the same scenes now. I find that some stories seem to have a "right time" to be written; that may be during the events they're based on, or shortly after, or decades later. Sometimes I try for years to write a story. For some stories, I still may not have reached their best time yet.


  1. I think many people's values change as they age and go through significant life events.

    When I was younger, I remember convincing myself certain things were fun too...deep down inside, I might've hoped if I kept at it, it would grow on me. Now that I'm older, I've learned it's okay to let go and move on.