Kodachrome, gives you the nice bright colours, or autumn in my old town

I moved back to my old ‘home town’ recently. Now, as the former wife of a military member, child of a nuclear family, restless Sagittarius sort, the concept of ‘home town’ is a bit nebulous.

But this place, this place is so full of memories it seems to really have me by the heart. I was here for university, and the limestone buildings and pathways of the campus play back one scene.

(Well, as do the bars, but let’s not linger on that too long…)(The memories are slightly fuzzy, anyway.)

I came back here when my kids were in elementary school and saw them launched into the world from here. Everywhere I go there are memories of spending time with them – the trees by the lake remind me of a blissful day when my youngest and I went for a swim just ahead of a thunderstorm…the martial arts gym reminds me of taking my middle son to learn karate…the back roads around the city remind me of the times I drove my eldest to parties with friends who lived out in the woods.

The library down the street, where I studied for my epidemiology degree, is filled with visuals of the kids coming to ‘visit’ me while I studied (their dad would always bring them, for some reason).

I don’t know whether it is the introspection brought through extended isolation (thanks, pandemic), but it seems like everywhere I turn I have a movie reel of my past lives scrolling through my mind.

In one way, it’s a bit sad – the kids I miss, the choices I’ve made, the things I’ve done wrong…

But in another way, I am realizing I have done an awful lot with my misspent life. I’ve leapt at challenges, I’ve fallen to the wayside, but I’ve BEEN there, from running for political office, to travelling the world, to working with the deeply poor and the wildly rich, to trying new skills to failing at crochet, to finishing a book and making 100’s of felted animals with disturbing personalities, to playing a variety of instruments badly. I’ve even blown glass! Steamed in the Blue Lagoon while sipping Prosecco and feeling hail land on my head…So much fun was had.

In the end, I probably will have little to show for these adventures. Today I was listening to a grandchild going on about how cool their grandparent was and I realized that it’s unlikely I will ever be considered cool by a junior relative – in fact, there will likely be a smaller and smaller crowd of people who even care if I breathe.

In a way, this is freeing. I used to live to perform for my parents, then my spouse, and latterly for my kids. Now, should I so desire, I could drag about in sweatpants and scraggly hair (wait…what?) and no one would really care if I ever did anything with myself. I could let myself go. (Okay, more than I have already…)

It’s tempting. But then a tiny voice starts whining at me: what about your books? What about your desire to learn new things? What about music? Books? Company?

So I go forward, girding my loins for another new adventure, pandemic notwithstanding. It’s time for me to redefine myself as being in Kingston as a solo act. What memories will it give me this time?