I always think of my life as a series of very distinct phases. I moved quite a bit growing up–four times before I graduated high school–which created very natural and distinct divisions on top of those created by the natural events that take place in most lives (graduations, career changes, marriages, etc.)
My early childhood in Anderson was was followed by a culture-shock filled year-and-a-half on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, then an approximate six year span in the New Orleans suburbs. While my Midwestern roots often clashed with the “Laissez les bons temps rouler” view (that’s “let the good times roll” for those of you who, unlike me, were not forced to take 2 years of French in elementary school), I grew a lot and those years in the south helped shape me into who I am now–probably in ways I’ll never realize.
Moving back to Indiana after Katrina wasn’t exactly without it’s struggles, but as I settled into Noblesville and eventually DePauw, I began to feel settled. Reconnected with Indy I found the one place that felt like home after years as a foreigner in a very distinct land. My life in the south began to feel like another person’s, something that didn’t feel like anything close to reality. While I still hold onto those memories fondly, in some ways I am so wrapped up in my current life and existing relationships that anything before age 17 doesn’t feel like it happened. It’s been almost seven years, seven significant years (17 to 24 is certainly full of change), and who I was then is not who I am now.
The weird thing, though, is that those distinct worlds, those distinct lives, aren’t so crazily separate after all. In fact, they’re capable of intersecting in moments that feel rather strange and surreal.
The first time that happened was when I saw the track team from a school a Louisiana classmate attended sitting in my college’s dining facility. He wasn’t on the team, but the realization that our schools were connected by just an athletic conference was rather strange, in a way, making that life feel not so distant.
But last weekend felt the strangest as I saw an old friend in person, here, on my home turf. My sorority’s national convention was held at the JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis this year. I attended for a few days as a volunteer. While there I got to chat with an old friend from middle school, one who just happened to join the same sorority while almost 1000 miles away (okay, 884 according to Google maps) at LSU. It was great to see her and feel that connection to the past again, to memories of middle school, which, unlike for most people I know, happened to be a rather pleasant experience for me. At the same time, though, it was odd to stand in my new home and find this old friend–with a noticeable southern accent that I didn’t remember–and see the physical proof that while those phases end, life still goes on and shifts in the places I’ve left behind. Obviously I knew that was the case, but a Facebook news feed doesn’t quite have the same effect as an in-person conversation.
Maybe we’ll see each other again at future Delta Gamma conventions or other events. Who knows. All I know is that life, while feeling rather divided sometimes, is all rather fluid, and you never know when something or someone from your past will make an appearance in your current phase.
What phases has your life had? Have you ever had any weird moments when those different worlds collide?