Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

July 2, 2013

Where Has the Time Gone?

Been back now for two years.  It's anniversaries like these where I reflect on how much time has gone by, not just since the event, but in general, and how fast the time has gone.  Two years into my new life in San Francisco, I was working at a law firm downtown and my life revolved around all things Grateful Dead.  That would have been 1991.  It was a really fun and special time in my life.  I had a lot of friends and everything that I thought living in SF would be was coming true.  Two years into my new life in Washington, 2001, I had just started working for Steve, the Seattle Mariners were tearing up baseball and the worst tragedy to ever hit our country was about to happen.   

I don't even think of 2001 as being that long ago, but it's 12 years ago already.  Sometimes when I think '10 years ago', the 90s come to mind first....when in reality that was 20 years ago.  Twenty. Years.  How is that possible?  Time's going by so fast.  I still think of my 'recent past' as when I was going to Tacoma Rainiers games all the time, working for Steve, and going to Victoria every year.  It's a surprise to also remember that I haven't always had a blog, followed blogs or had a Facebook page.  What did I do before them?  It just seems like I've always had them, and I often forget that I haven't met most of my blog & Facebook friends in person, but these social platforms have put us all in touch, in real time. 

My fave show, "Friends", went off the air nearly 10 years ago, and went on the air nearly 20 years ago.  I was watching a bunch of  LOCI repeats recently and was so surprised to see the air dates on the episodes.  It was so long ago but also seems like just yesterday.  Back then, before the Vincent Vixens started their own blogs, all we had was that Molly Chatroom to talk about the episodes.  It feels like I've been with the show since it's first season but I only discovered it in 2005 after it went into reruns.  

Recently, I was watching some dear friends of mine (I consider them nephews) graduate from high school, streaming live from Oregon.  I thought about the two times I went to Portland. Why didn't we get together? It hit me that I met the family on Facebook playing Hatchlings in the late fall of 2008, and my trips to Portland predated that.  It never occurred to me that I would ever leave Washington, so I figured I would get together with them eventually,  then I ran out of time.

But two years ago, time seemed to have come to a complete standstill that winter and spring of 2011.  Those were the longest 6 months of my life.  It moved so slow, yet the past two years have flown by.  Back then it felt like I was never gonna leave that house & life, and Russell was never gonna get to Seattle to drive Pepper & me home. He & I were counting down the days, hours and minutes till his flight, which I monitored obsessively from my hotel room in SeaTac.  None of it became truly real till I saw him standing in front of the Arrivals terminal.  Here we are, two years later, engaged, still really happy and crazy about each other and rebuilding our lives together.  I love his kids & his family.

The newness of my being back has worn off.  I've figured out how to drive rotaries again (for the most part, and I still hate them).   Those of you not from New England know them as 'traffic circles' or 'roundabouts'.  It's where like 4-6 major roads converge in a circle and it takes some serious skill to enter and exit without getting hit.  I'm not at all amused by the lack of use of turn signals.  I can't decide which state has the worst drivers, Rhode Island or New Jersey.  I'm still figuring out how to get around on Cape, but that's nothing new because I never really ventured outside of Sandwich and Barnstable much the first time I lived there.  Still haven't been to up Boston or Provincetown.  That's mostly an 'uncooperative weather and lack of funds' issue.  Seems like it's either raining or too hot, or if I get a perfect day I just don't have the cash to make the trip worthwhile.  I try to stretch a tank of gas for 2 weeks, and road trips really take a bite out of that.

The first six months of this year have flown by, not that I mind, since it got off to a really rough start for so many people besides us.  I was not sorry to see the door slam shut at the end of June.

I do miss Washington and I still feel very connected to the Pacific NW.  I probably always will.  My heart aches when I see pics from out there; stuff my PNW Facebook friends post of their day trips around Western WA, Oregon  and BC.  I wish I could have all my friends and family, but living out there.  I saw that word, 'hiraeth' posted somewhere a few months ago and it totally described the nostalgia I'm feeling for Washington from time to time.  Not that I don't love it here, because I do and it's great to be back.  But that Mountain, that whole breathtaking region, is branded on my brain forever.  It's the polar opposite of coastal Massachusetts.  Everything's just bigger out there.  I know it bugs Russell that I'm still thinking about Washington, and the west coast, but I spent almost a lifetime out there.  22 years!!!  It's the only current frame of reference I have for anything or my life experiences. I talk about it a lot because it's all I know.  The last time I lived here, I was 24 years old.  I really only have fragmented memories of my life starting around age 4.  Technically that's only 20 years of memories of living here most of which are early childhood, vs. 22 years of adult memories on the west coast.  But I force myself to remember the awful commute to and from work, the stress of working in family law, gridlocked traffic day after day, the crushing loneliness of having no real life friends and an mentally ill, unemployed, alcoholic husband who was at the bar every day.  When I look at it in those terms, beautiful scenery isn't enough to make up for a shitty quality of life.

And then there's this.....

That is the Pauline Baynes illustration from CS Lewis' The Last Battle, when Aslan oversees the end of Narnia.  Everyone is urged through the door into a new world.  When Father Time rises up and extinguishes the moon, Aslan slams the door on the old, dead Narnia.  Sometimes that's how I feel when I look back at my old life.  It's like a movie that I'm watching from this side of the door, of the 1989-2011 time period.  Every now and then I'll have a flashback to an old, long buried memory of those times and it's weird.  Like how the afternoon light looked in my old apartment in San Francisco.  I feel like, 'did I really spend that much time away and do all those things?'  And part of me is kicking myself because I feel like I didn't do and see near as much as I should have, for the amount of time I was out there. Brian's even dead, further slamming shut the door on that part of my life. Did I really do and see all those things?  I must have; I have the pictures, memories and journals.  It's....creepy and weird. I left Cape Cod so long ago vowing to never return, came back to the area, and am engaged to someone I knew in high school.  I mean seriously, colour me surprised.

I used to have a recurring dream which was always one of my faves.  It was the beach combing dream, which took place at Spring Hill beach, or another unknown beach that was set on Cape Cod.  I'd be finding the most amazing glass pieces, in-tact vases and boxes and perfume bottles, some painted like Fenton Glass,  with jewels & crystals, and all in beautiful colours.  I would be digging them out of the sand near the water and greedily stuffing them in a large bag.  There was a never ending supply of treasure in the sand.  I haven't had that dream since I got back.  I think it means that everything I ever wanted was here the whole time, but I had to go out west to find that out.

If you'll indulge me another analogy, it's a lot like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, when she wakes up back in Kansas.  'This was a real, truly live place.  And I remember that some of it wasn't very nice, but most of it was beautiful......Oh but anyway, Toto, we're home! Home!....And I'm not going to leave here ever again, because I love you all! And - Oh Auntie Em, there's no place like home!"



  1. Indeed, Jojo... you made me nostalgic right now.. I really miss my home a lot... my parents, my city, my ways of living there... but I do come back there, though with each year it feels more and more like I am a foreigner there, like my imagination better than reality.

  2. Great post JoJo... time does go quickly; each year seems to zoom past faster than the last.

    And as for being back "home", I love your Oz reference; we don't know what we have (or can really appreciate it) until it's gone. Glad you found your way back to happiness.

  3. JoJo what a wonderful post. Life does go by quickly and seems like the older we get the faster it goes. But life is also filled with memories, some beautiful, some ugly but each one has made us what we are today. Our past has made us stronger, wiser and better in many ways.
    Glad you've found that treasure that your recurrent dream was searching for. :)

  4. The passing of time--it is the best and the worst. The moments we treasure pass by too quickly, the moments we hate drag by. But in the big scheme, I am grateful the past has passed with all its regrets and victories. Tomorrow is only a dream, but today is golden.

  5. Time flies when you're having fun. I loved this post and all the memories it brought back to me and am reflecting on right now. Surely the 90's can't have been that long ago?? WOW.


  6. Anonymous2:27 PM

    As the saying goes, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger - even if most of it is further away from us than it seems possible it can be! At least things came around for you, and you finally have peace and happiness in your life :0)

  7. Bittersweet memories.

    As for the drivers with the worst record on signalling turns, has to be Londoners.

    There's this saying sometimes uttered by those behind: Come on, mate, fart and give us a clue!

  8. Great post JoJo. Time just flies by so fast. I don't remember where I heard the saying but it's so true - life is like a roll of toilet paper, the closer it gets to the end the faster it goes! Glad you are back in "Kansas" ;)

  9. Hey Jojo :) I love that definition of that nostalgia. I've felt that most of my life and thought I was alone in it - longing to be three years old again, wishing I could visit my home aged 8 again, etc.

    I love posts like these where I get to learn a little more about you! I can't believe 2001 and what happened was 12 years ago already! Time truly does just fly by.

    I am grateful for the internet and for blogging etc because I've met so many amazing people, like you, who have become part of my life. I hope you are well :)

  10. This was truly beautiful, JoJo. You've been through so very much and it's made you the wonderful person that you are today. You hold so many fantastic memories that you can reflect on and cherish. It's amazing and sometimes sad but it's really quite a gift. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  11. Your life has had some interesting twists and turns. This was a lovely post.
    I grew up in the north east, moved to Southern Cal and now live in the south east. I still miss California with all my heart even though I left 15 years ago. Some places are just our heart homes. We may appreciate where we live now, but still have twinges of sadness about the places we left behind.

  12. Thanks everyone. I got so much positive feedback on this post on Facebook too, yet it was really hard to write and I almost didn't publish it.

  13. Love the photos/pics you used to share your post today :) I'm pretty boring anf have lived in much the same area all my life - but I get time flying by xx
    Suzanne @ Suzannes Tribe