As I was contemplating my exit route from MA on Sunday, I detoured southeast (I think) to my old neighborhood. When I lived in MA in the early 2000’s, I worked at Hanscom Air Force Base (Bedford) and had an apartment in Lexington. I was really young (22), and this was my first real job, first time living that far away from my family, and it was a very big deal. I’ve already told you the story of moving there, so I won’t bore you with it again, but I was pretty proud of myself (or maybe I was just crazy) for moving there alone.
I had a lot of experiences in Lexington, Bedford, and Boston that I think helped to form who I am now. I learned a lot about wellness, food, and health by living and spending time in the city and with my specific friends of that era. Everything wasn’t perfect—I had a rental agreement that had me walking a 150lb English Mastif for an hour a day. My apartment was 400 square feet and had no closet. Seriously, there was no closet. My boss at the AFB was a putz, and the management trainee program I was in turned out to have no higher level direction.
I made the best of it, watched many episodes of the Golden Girls after work, learned how to be assertive…found the laundromat, the closest Stop ‘n Shop (ick), the bank, the mechanic…the Burlington Mall, and the city.
I won’t lie, I had help with navigating the city. We would drive to the Alewife T-station, take the Red Line past 6 stops to Park Street (sometimes with a stop in Cambridge)…and then wander. Through the Boston Common, the Public Gardens, the Prudential, Newbury Street, and back the other way toward the water. This was a weekly jaunt, and the snake-like Boston city streets began to make sense over time and feel like home.
This past weekend was the second time I’ve been back in the vicinity of the city since I left abruptly in 2003. The city is big—it was an important part of my life, but where I lived was Lexington and Bedford. I hadn’t been back there until this weekend. I don’t think I expected it to be difficult, but I realized I never had any closure on that chapter of my life. My sister died in the middle of the night on October 28/29 in 2003, and I left immediately, only returning briefly to sign out of my job and evacuate my stuff. It was sad then, but I was also in shock. That part of my life didn’t include anybody who is a part of it now. Lexington looked a little shabbier this past weekend than I remember it (sorry). It was good for me to drive through though, and look at the town through my more grown up eyes—I was confused at first about why I was feeling so sad about it because I don’t miss living in Lexington.
When my life in MA ended it was also the end of my life as I had always known it—the end of my sister, the end of my city-life, the end of my family. My parents and I have all moved on to create our own happiness and families outside of the 4-person unit that made up our family for my first 25 years. This is all good in many ways. But I never realized that I hadn’t completely closed that chapter.
The weekend drive through my old life reminded me about how important closure is. It also reminded me about how fast time goes (how can Matthew be almost 7?!). What do you have in your past that has helped to form who you are now? Even the difficult stuff can be important to reflect on now and again.
I’ll get to the food aspect of the trip soon. For now I am drowning in work (for one more month!)…