I rarely walked down Balcarres Street in the daylight. The number 23 bus took me directly to my Edinburgh flat.
The night buses dropped me off on Morningside Road, a main thoroughfare, though still shuttered and empty after nightfall (save a few pubs).
The 10 minute walk from Morningside Road was dark and residential. Pavement wound past a graveyard and adjacent to a mental hospital. Just up the hill sat the old asylum turned college, now an abandoned, wooded campus frequented during the day by hikers. But at night, blackness.
As my family’s year abroad neared an end and I prepared to finish my degree, I’d walk down this road with earbuds in and music loud. It took away much of the creepiness. John Mayer’s Paradise Valley is one of the albums of my Year of Writing Creatively (the other being, in all seriousness, Katy Perry’s Prism).
Mayer’s song “On the Way Home” resonated with me, especially with our Scottish adventure coming to an end. A sample lyric reads:
“The summer’s over, this town is closing. They’re waving people out of the ocean. We had the feeling like we were floating. We never noticed where time was going. Do you remember when we first got here? The days were longer; the nights were hot here. Now, it’s September; the engine’s started. You’re empty-handed and heavy-hearted. But just remember on the way home…. That you were never meant to feel alone. It takes a little while, but you’ll be fine: Another good time coming down the line.”
I’d climb up to our fourth floor flat and turn off the music…eventually.
I cried when I said goodbye to every place which made our/my time there…home. They were never big things- the university campus, the church building, the friends I’d made – which brought out the tears. My tears were in the details of home.
The Morningside Parish playgroup. ( I’d never park Alistair’s buggy in the foyer again.Sob.)
“You can be wrong and swear you’re right…some people been known to do it all their lives.”
But if something is wrong, does that mean it doesn’t exist? No.
Sometimes existence can be relative, too.
If you asked Professor McGonagall what non-being is, she’d tell you…. “Everything.” *
* (“Where do vanished objects go?” “Into non-being, which is to say, everything.” Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows)
Here are some examples of times I’ve been wrong:
In a journal entry dated early 2008, I wrote:
“I am old. I am ancient. I am decrepit.
I am a 24 year old undergrad.
Ahhh, the humanity.
… I feel like I have been in college longer than that Stifler guy from American Pie must have been in high school. The fact that I am IN high school when American Pie came out shows how old I am.
Sooo, I went with my dear Lancaster-ians (my English friends from my English university) to the fall convocation and realized that the freshman class of CU this year was born in 1990!!
I wore my sunglasses and tried to hide my smile crinkles, and then was literally paraded with the freshman and study abroad students (oh, there may have been a few grad students and transfers in there but who can spot them with the blinding light of youth surrounding you) past a bunch of cheering, whooping, entirely too perfect looking sorority sisters.
Maybe I have some sort of mental issue going on here, but this campus is making me feel ancient….
Part of me wants to the join the mass of my fellow 2002 high school grads and start having babies. One precursory glance at myspace shows that a large portion of my high school cohorts have babies.
But then part of me wants to make the most of being (relatively) young and revel in my last year of college, even if I am the new Van Wilder (the mormon version lolol).”
Yes, I thought I was ancient at 24. Wrong.
Here is another time I was wrong, in 1997. I was 13:
I found this while doing all of my de-cluttering (see other posts). It was empty.
Making pro and con lists are always a sound choice, right?
Again, from 1997:
It’s a bit hard to read, but it’s a list comparing two boys named John and Glynn (wherever they may be, I doubt they are readers of my blog). One ‘good’ thing about John is that he is a ‘ghetto wannabe.’ But then again, Glynn would ‘make a better father.’ What did they share on the Bad List? ‘Wears hats.’
Needless to say, making this list was the Bad Choice here.
All kidding aside, how we perceive reality at any given moment is what’s ‘right,’ most of the time. I don’t want to go around in circles about moral absolutes or a lack of them (like murder), as that’s a topic for another day, but this is more about those of us who are ‘normal’ (functioning in society) and live out our lives in our own perceived reality.
I am one of the those people who finds meaning in everything. I’ve been that way since I was a child. I loved looking for ‘signs’ that I was on the right path, and I still look for those ‘God Winks’, or as some would say, coincidences. I love finding affirmation that the thing I believe is correct. And due to confirmation bias, our brains are pretty adept at doing this.
But it also means we can convince ourselves of untruths.
I’m not talking about a particular person or group of people or a set of beliefs. Because I think this just applies to everyone, as human beings.
I’m writing about this because I’ve been addressing my own mea culpaas of late. Maybe it’s just becoming an adult, I don’t know. But I am seeing places where I’ve been wrong, even if I would have bet my life I was right, at the time.
Part of my ever-progressing journey into Letting It Go is accepting the times and places where I was truly….wrong.
I had this one idea perpetuating in my head for years (well, I’ve had plenty of ideas perpetuating in my head for years) and then one day a friend of mine told me, bluntly:
How does one simply enter Mordor turn off an idea? It’s not easy. But once you accept it’s wrong, in some cases you really can
And some perceptions simply fade with time. When I was a teenager, I literally believed I could, if opportunity presented itself, marry JC Chasez from N Sync. My best and I manipulated our movements in certain ways at N Sync concerts (trying to get picked to dance on stage, waiting outside certain doors or hotels) , so utterly convinced we were that if we could just MEET THEM, Justin Timberlake and JC Chasez would love us. How could they not?!?!
My first year of college, at 18, I began realizing how silly this seemed as I was studying in my psychology class how the adolescent mind quite easily accepts grandiose ideas
I don’t ever want to lose my dreams, my ambitions, or most of all, my sense of self , which has been shaping itself ever since all of the quirky incidents I’ve mentioned.
But I want to remember that while perception is everything at the time, sometimes…there are times we are just plain wrong.