I cannot sing the old songs, or dream those dreams again. (Charlotte Barnard)
I’ve been carrying around an uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach for the last week. Tomorrow I’m going to come face to face with my former best friend. We have not seen or spoken to each other in more than three years. So she has absolutely no idea of the woman I am now, and as for me, I find myself looking back into what really does feel like another lifetime – one I put behind me awhile ago. And I don’t know how I feel about revisiting it.
It’s not that I’m ashamed of who I used to be; far from it. There are a lot of good memories; the picture above is from my 2004 tour of Petco Park, when as an aspiring sportswriter I got to sit in the press box. (I’ve been told I don’t look that much different now, which is kind of freaky, considering it was almost ten years ago.) But the truth is, things are just so different now. The struggle I’ve lived through over the last three-plus years completely changed me. I don’t look at the world the same way. I don’t like the same things. I don’t have the same goals. It really is like an old chapter in my life.
And it took me a long time to make peace with the fact that I couldn’t be that person again. I struggled for awhile with realizing that I couldn’t play sports anymore; it was tough for me to give up something that had been such a passion and shaped the person I grew up to be. Most importantly, it hit me hard to realize that I didn’t have the friends I’d always had before. I wept more than a few times as I found out that my world was a lot smaller than I’d believed it was. It took the love and support of new people, most importantly my friends from Season 2 of The Voice, for me to accept that I could find happiness somewhere else.
So I’m apprehensive about meeting this person again, not because of what happened between us, but because I don’t know if I really want to bring my past into my present, even for a day.
I liked who I was before well enough. But I love who I am now. I get up every morning and look at myself in the mirror with a smile, because I have pride in my accomplishments and the things that I stand for. I have so many good memories that once you get me started talking, it’s hard for me to stop. And I am blessed with new friends, friends who match with me so well, and who are far more supportive than the people I knew before. I adore Adam and Michael and Tony and all my friends now, who inspire me every day and who make it such a pleasure just to be alive. My life isn’t perfect (if you saw my schedule for the month of July, for example, you would cry), but I’m really, really happy.
I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. Will we get along like we used to? Will we find that we’ve just grown apart? What am I going to feel reuniting with someone who’s missed the three biggest years of my life? What am I expecting? I can’t answer any of those questions. But I almost feel like I need to answer them by doing this. To get just a little more closure on the life I used to live. And to appreciate just how far I’ve come since then. I’d like to think the old Brittany would be proud of the new one.