Missy and I are visiting my ex, Kacie, her husband Kevin, and their ridiculously adorable newborn baby.
It's been good to see them, and a bit mind-bending too. They have both been a part of my life for a very long time, in various ways. Spending time with them is a fascinating mix of new and old. There are tons of in-jokes and memories we all share, and we have a deep knowledge of one another.
Yet at the same time, it's almost like they're entirely different people. They're in this new, exciting phase of their life, now that they're parents. They've been through many other changes too, as have Missy and I, certainly.
As we've visited, I'll catch myself looking at an old photograph on the walls, or something laying around their house, and remember my own involvement in whatever that thing or memory is. It's occasionally just a tad bittersweet.
That's entirely balanced out though by getting to know and experience the new, present, current incarnations of them, as the new, current, incarnation of myself. They adore their kid. They're super happy with each other.
I often say that life is like this super complex math problem. Over on one side of the equation you've got X, which is who you are now, and on the other side, all this complex gibberish that evaluates to it. It includes everything that's ever happened to you, everyone you've ever known, and all your experiences. Somehow these things all blend together to make the you, that you are now.
All of this was rolling around in my head yesterday when we all went out for a nice walk. Along the path I saw this awesome thing, a sort of community do-it-yourself-library-cabinet. You can leave a book there, or take one.
It struck me as particular relevant to the stuff on my mind. Experiences are kind of like this too. As we change, we share experiences with others for a time, then shelve them. Others use them too. Those past experiences never go away, but our relationship to them changes over time. We write new stories. Sometimes, they have some of the same characters. Sometimes those characters change.
I'm glad I get to read and write all this stuff.