Yesterday I uncovered a bunch of old photographs that set me off on a real nostalgia trip. They were taken back in the 1960s - a lifetime ago for me - and carried many memories on their shiny surfaces.
As I shuffled through them I couldn't help but think about myself as the person I was then: Insecure, frightened, overwhelmed, totally unsure of myself and my place in the world. And yet there was something I can look back on now and be melancholy about. Because that girl was young and full of promise, with a pretty pure outlook on the world.
It wasn't an easy time in history, the 1960s, but I was in high school and the future was all ahead of me. When I think back on those times now I wonder about the choices I made and how my life would have been different had I been wiser, or more confident, or possibly stronger than I was.
Of course life is full of crossroads, and the sign we follow often means a direction that might have been better taken is the one left behind. Looking thought those photos, of my father (who would have been in his forties at the time) outside the brand new bank in Montauk that he was instrumental in opening, or of myself in front of my house back then, only a few dozen feet from where I sit today to type on my computer, or of my sisters with their boyfriends, or school friends on some adventure with me...well...in some ways it seems like yesterday and yet when I look in the mirror, or try to stand up when I've been sitting too long, I know it was a very long time ago. And the fact of the matter is we can't undo the choices we make when we're young can we? We may alter our course now and again, but what's done is done and our lives are set before we're barely able to fend for ourselves. It reminds me of the Haiku I wrote back in high school. Now it seems a bit prophetic:
Life is a puzzle
It takes a lifetime to solve
The answer comes too late