We went camping this past weekend in Soldotna with some friends. They have about an acre of land near the Kenai river. We packed the truck with camping gear (thanks to my highly superior packing skeeeeelllllllsssss, it all fit), placed Beaner (the dog gets carsick, so there's no way he's riding in the cab) in the kennel in the back, put Nicholas in the truck with Chloe (the dog that doesn't get carsick) and headed out for the three hour ride south.
We arrived in Soldotna in the evening and unpacked the tent. I didn't realize that we would be there with so many other people. Marilynn (Alex's friend from work that owns the land) had invited a few other friends for the weekend. Our tent looked downright rustic surrounded by the RVs and 5th wheels on the lot. Marilynn's RV is the size of a tour bus, and looks like an apartment inside, complete with plasma tv, dvd player and a washer and dryer! With the people that came and went all weekend, I'd have to say there must have been about 25 to 30 people there! It was loud, full of laughter, and a lot of fun.
We'd brought a cooler of food, but it didn't get eaten. We brought a small camp stove, but it didn't get used. Marilynn cooked something for every meal. The woman should be a professional caterer. She's Filipino, so we got the treat of dining on Pork Adobo, seafood soup, rice, fried fish chips, and some "American" food like the normal cheese burgers, sausage, etc. I do have to admit though that being surrounded by people speaking Tagalog took me back to my past. It also reminded me that someone from my past go married on Saturday.
We dated for almost 5 years. It was one of those relationships that neither of us really wanted to be in, but it was familiar, comfortable, and hard to leave. I'm definitely not jealous he married someone else. I didn't want to marry him for more reasons than I can count. I ended things to move to Alaska, and I made sure before I left that there was no going back to that situation ever again, intentionally. I guess I can't escape my past, or the people in it, entirely. Thankfully, life does go on. The only constant in life is change. Things change, people have the capacity to change. Good memories, not so good memories, happy memories, painful memories, they are a part of me. Sometimes I do want to know how the people in my past are doing and what they are doing in their lives. I think that's normal for everyone. Some people have left profound footprints as they walked through my life. I've known some truly wonderful people that have shown me that people are good, kind and decent. It's helped me maintain hope in mankind when I've allowed people into my life that were selfish, self centered and hurtful. This walk through life has taken me down so many twists and turns, and I've learned so much about myself and others along the journey. The walk down memory lane that I've been taking for the past few weeks topped itself off with this camping trip.
Looking into my past memories is like looking into a pensieve (sorry for the Harry Potter connection, but I can't help it!). I can pop in and out of my past and view my memories as if they are someone else's memories and not my own. I can view them with an emotional detachment that I didn't have when I was living the actual event. I can't go back and change anything, but I can definitely learn from the events and see now the pain I may have caused others, not just the pain I felt in some situations. I know I don't have the right to intrude on the lives of others in order to say that I regret doing and saying some things I did and said (oh, and there are some things I did and said that I don't regret IN THE LEAST, but that's another issue), or see how they are now, but maybe feeling the remorse and taking responsibility for my actions is enough?
I didn't catch any fish on Sunday. I should have cast differently and gone when I knew the run was on. Instead, I waited till no fish were running and the catching was sparce. I bought hip waders instead of chest waders and ended up with a wet hiney and cold legs, unable to go very far into the water. I should have bought chest waders and gone into the water as far as I could, without fear of getting wet, no holding back. I'll add the memories of this weekend, good and not so good, to my memories of "shoulda, woulda, coulda, didn'ts" and go on with my life. The good thing about life, camping trips and memories is that until this life ends, there's the possibility to do things differently next time. There's the opportunity to look at all the decisions I've made, good and bad, and see how those decisions have led me to where I am. There's also the opportunity that when I'm faced with making decisions in the future, hopefully, I will have learned from the past. I think I have. I don't have a magic wand to wave to make my life any different than it is now, and if I did, I wouldn't use it. Are there things I would do differently if I could? Maybe. If I would have said the things I should have when I had the opportunity, gotten out of relationships I shouldn't have stayed in as long as I did (or gotten into relationships and friendships I never should have), reached out to people I should have kept in my life instead of letting go of them, my life would be much different than it is today. And, so would theirs. And, maybe that's not a good thing. Who knows. It's like the movie Sliding Doors, starring Gwenyth Paltrow. In the movie, two decisions she could have made actually occur, and throughout the movie we follow each decision and its consequences through to the end. Some of the decisions she made along the way were good, some weren't so great. In the end though, the path she DID take and the decisions she DID make were right. I have to believe, so were mine.