I come from this beautiful picturesque small beach village called Niantic. It sits on the Long Island sound in southeastern Connecticut – an easy drive from Boston & NYC.
The village is lined with beaches, has a beautiful main street filled with small boutiques and cafes, and a small gazebo at the center of town; the hub for any townie weekend event. Down main street our town hosts holiday strolls, farmer markets, numerous parades. However, none compare to the infamous East Lyme Day, which is basically a humongous block party where Main Street is shut down every third Saturday of July with fun food, large discounts, and fireworks on the beach at night. It’s especially beautiful watching them from a boat on the bay.
To clarify, East Lyme is the town I’m from, and Niantic is a village inside of our town. So you can just imagine how small town my home is…and how fast gossip went around in high school. Getting around town as a preteen was so easy without a car, everything being a simple walk or bike ride distance away. But everyone knows everyone, which always meant an extra sets of eyes when going on first dates to the local cinema (which seats only not even a thousand people with the five theaters combined), or the beach dances held at McCook’s every Wednesday night during the summer months. However, the true escapes started to take place when drivers licenses were finally issued. Wednesday beach dances turned to Friday night bonfires, weekend camping trips, and frequent trips to the mall to spend all of my tip money serving at our local Dairy Queen. Even with the town-wide driving curfew till 11 p.m, having a car never felt more sweet.
When I told my friends about Niantic back when I lived in Chicago, they always said it seemed too good to be true – and honestly, it is! It is the perfect place to grow up, despite my disdain towards it in high school. I always craved to go home for a visit, trying to relive those sweet memories over and over.
Fast forward a few years to the present tense. As I’m writing this entry at a local cafe in Niantic during a small city-free getaway, all I can think about is my life back in Chicago. How I miss my close friends dearly – the late night taco runs and the frequent city neighborhood exploring. I miss going to classes and running dance rehearsals and working on homework at coffee shops with friends on weekends. I miss all the places Oliver & I loved to go on dates, eating our favorite dishes and falling even more in love then our previous visit. I miss having girl time with the women I bonded so closely with, or watching Oliver be *slightly* reckless with his guys. I miss nights at Brehon’s pub with them, which is of course where we spent our last night in Chicago filled with laughter, tears, shared memories, and heart-wrenching goodbyes. My heart hurts even writing all of this.
I guess what I’m trying to say is…living in the past hurts, and when we do so we miss the amazing things happening in our present.
I dwelled so much about my small beach town during my five years in Chicago that I didn’t truly take in the beautiful life I had around me. It’s so easy to dwell on the past, but now as I commence into my first few months of marriage in a whole new city, I sit here worried…knowing that years from now if we start a family I’ll just look back at these months and think, “Man, I had it so good then.“
I don’t want to live like that anymore. I want to stop being so sad about leaving beautiful things and recognize what’s so great unfolding right before my eyes in this moment.
I want to feel like I truly LIVED in these special moments instead of crying and dwelling from previous memories (which instead should live in my head as joyful instead of sorrowful).
I loved my life and friends in Chicago, and Niantic, and I would never trade if for the world. But I want to take in these first few months, and soon years, with Oliver. Because later, when new life-altering events take place, I want to look back and truly know that I lived in those moments instead of dwelled on ones in the past.