I'm trying to not dwell on the past anymore. Our lives are so overly documented now that it's easy to get stuck looking at old photographs and memories from "the good ol' days", forgetting that the good ol' days are still now. I see smiles and laughter and get stuck on everything inside of the picture frame and forget what was going on outside of the frame. Just outside of the frame I had spent all day in sweatpants writing 10 page essays in a house that was a disaster. Just outside of the frame my laundry was piled on my bed, my books were sprawled on the floor, I had eaten a bag of chips and my skin, well, I may as well have had chicken pox. But inside of the frame, where I photoshopped out my hives, and we were sitting in perfectly pressed clothing (at least from the top up until the frame cut out), on an oh so white couch... Inside of the frame everything looks neat and tidy, happy, free, careless and powerful.
I'm trying to not dwell on the past anymore because I forget all the chaos that was going on outside of the frame, and yet, things appear to look great. I want to narrow my frame to today. By narrowing my frame to my present life in this present time, I can forget about the person who sat by me on the bus yesterday and smelled of alcohol and sweat. By narrowing my frame to today I can forget about past deadlines and tears and busyness and chaos and once I push aside all of those things I realize that: things are actually pretty great. The good ol' days are still happening, as they always have been. There have been mountains and valleys and waves of emotions that keep pushing my life forward and showing my what's next. These what's next's, these unknowns, can be scary. It's easy to hold onto the past, dwelling and remembering only the things that we photographed and comparing our present life to our 'picture-perfect' past life. But when I carefully and honestly look at my present life, I realize that even though things don't look as picture-perfect as I may have wanted them to be, they are exactly what I always wanted. I read my journal from two years ago where I describe the man I wanted to be with, the dreams I wanted to accomplish, the feelings I wanted to feel, the city I wanted to be in, the friends I wanted to be close to and I realize that my not so picture perfect life is exactly what I had wrote about and dreamt of for so long. These quiet moments of healthy reflection give me an even bigger smile than the smile in the picture frame. The unhealthy reflection is where I give the smile in the picture frame greater power than my present smile.
I want to dwell on the present. I want to dwell on the present where I can constructively observe and be in my day to day without longing for a different time or place. I catch myself whenever I say "I miss this" or "I miss that" because missing takes me into the wrong frame. If I really, truly miss something, I'd rather do something about it and make it happen than sit and dwell and wonder what if. The what if's keep me stagnant, where the doing produces more life.
That's what I'm going to do. I'm going to keep being and doing and moving in this present moment, recognizing both the beauty and chaos of the past but seeing hope in the future. I'm going to keep focusing my frame on today, the only day that now exists. But I don't want to just exist in today, I want to really, truly, live in today.
And so, here's to my not so picture-perfect life. Actually, here's to my life that doesn't even make it into the picture frame.