We watched 500 Days of Summer last night, and I was struck by a keen desire to go back in time, to being young and hopeful about the future, and to experience the joys and terrors of falling in love. The movie did an excellent job of portraying the emotional upheaval which accompanies the stages of any new relationship, and I found myself swept up in the feelings of the characters.
Halfway through I began to feel that piercing nostalgia for the beginning of my relationship with Jason, when the emotions are so big that they turn your entire life upside down. That magical spark of falling in love is a once-in-a-lifetime feeling, and while I wouldn't change a thing about choosing to marry him and settling down together, there is still a part of me that pines for the "firsts" that are long gone and will never be again.
Relationship stages are interesting to me. The tumultuous romance opens the door to commitment and permanence. You can't have one without the other, but when the early days are behind you, it takes a real effort to rekindle that excitement and find those stomach-dropping butterflies again.
November was one of the hardest months on our marriage so far. Jason was away for most of the month, and not just physically, but also emotionally due to circumstances beyond our control. This created a disconnect which wasn't easy to repair, and required a renewed effort on both of our parts to cross the divide. Looking back, I can feel how good it was for both of us to put this work into our relationship as that helped to rekindle our affection for each other.
Sometimes I love the stage we are in right now, settled and comfortable with our two kids, and not as stressed about finances and sleepless nights and learning how to parent as we were in the early days. But then I watch a movie like 500 Days of Summer, and I long for the thrill of the beginning, and feel a certain sadness that there is no going back in life, only forward.
I suppose I have all of these stages to look forward to for my kids, and participating in their many firsts will bring back the joys I experienced when it was my turn. And there is always more to anticipate and work toward; as long as we are alive there are new things around every corner. It's probably best to focus on that instead of worrying about the things which have gone before, and cannot be retrieved, except in our memories.