I recently discovered that someone I knew back when I was 15 has passed away. I'm not going to name this person, as I don't feel it's respectful to the close friends and family he's left behind. I don't even know the circumstances surrounding his passing. The last time I saw him was in a bar in 2009, and I'm pretty sure he didn't even recognize me, or remember who I was.
But discovering that he has passed away, and is pretty much the same age as me is a pretty sobering thought, and I became quite introspective for a few days, and I'm still feeling that way.
Thinking about this person brought back a flood of memories from 1995-1996 (which I guess tells anyone who is reading my approximate age). These are things that I hadn't thought about for quite a long time. Recalling those events made me think about how important everything seemed back then, in comparison to how it all measures up to my life now.
Do I have regrets from that age? Ehhh... If I knew then what I know now, I would have probably done a number of things differently, made some wiser decisions. But seeing as how I can't change the past, and those decisions are a part of who I am, I would have to say that no, I don't have any regrets. What's happened is done. I learned some important life lessons, and they continue to be applied to my life now.
Everything seemed so urgent back then. Everything was so... in the moment. Every event was earth-shattering. Every setback was devastating. I thought that every moment would impact me for the rest of my life? How could I live without my boyfriend? How could my best friend do that to me?
All of these earth-shattering events are now a distant memory. I've probably forgotten more than I can even still remember. Yet, they're still all a part of me. But it feels like... a different life. A different existence.
Perhaps in another 17 years, I'll look back to today, and think how everything I was thinking then was inconsequential... but then again... I'm at a point in my life where I'm raising a child (he'll be 18 when I look back to this day), I'm trying to find a literary agent, I'm working, I'm negotiating a marriage. I have to think that everything I'm feeling now while continue to be relevant 17 years from now.
I suppose I'm walking away from these feelings with one overriding thought: Knowing that someone from my past, who was just about the same age as me, has passed away, leaving behind grieving family and friends... I'm going to hug my son a little closer, and enjoy every moment I have with him. These are the moments that matter.