Yesterday's post left me a bit unsatisfied -- a feeling that I'd failed to say what I wanted, but also that I didn't know what I wanted to say.
As I think I've mentioned before (I'm too lazy to search through the archives), since moving away from Boulder, it's weighed on my consciousness cyclically: I go between extreme nostalgia for the place and saying "I've moved forward." It's rather ridiculous -- seven years on, I've had plenty of good times in the intervening years, plenty of interesting experiences. So, why am I still mooning over Boulder, Colorado, 1996-1999 like it was my first girlfriend?
One part is obvious -- it is my hometown. And returning there during that period, as an adult (legally if not mentally) reconciled me with the place after some unhappy teenage years.
I think, also, it was an idyllic time, an airlock in between youth and adulthood. I've said previously (ok, I did search) that it was the last time of my life when I could just sit there for a few hours, drinking wine, and not worry about anything -- a time when I had the privileges of an adult while still holding on to the irresponsibility of the college years, when I could ditch work to go sit at the James Pub (long gone now, alas) drinking Guinness.
There's also a disquieting sense, when I think of Boulder, that I've allowed myself to be left behind. My three closest friends from that era are all now married -- I still consider it a colossal achievement if I date the same woman for more than two weeks. It's silly, I know -- I've done plenty on the non-romantic front -- but we tend to focus on our shortcomings rather than our achievements, don't we?
Really, though, I think of that period as "Boulder" for me -- a snapshot of 1996 to 1999 now defines the city, and every little change is a little piece out of my heart, whether it be one more friend leaving or one more old favorite pub closing (and there aren't that many of either, any more). I really wouldn't want to go back to the way things were; thank God, I've grown up some in the past seven years, and some of my behavior back then makes me cringe. But I'll always miss it.
Have a feeling I've said much of this before. Apologies -- these have been moody days, unaccountably. This is what happens when the hockey world goes quiet.