This year, I’ve barely had the chance to flip through photos and reminisce.

Heck, I’ve barely had the chance to breathe.

In three years’ time, I have lived in three states — practically by the seat of my pants. It seems as if I’ve barely had the chance to see any of the seven apartments in which I’ve lived during my adult life because I’ve always been in a car or plane — going to Florida, Tennessee, Louisiana, the Carolinas, Ohio, the Delmarva Peninsula — it’s been insane.

The first vehicle I had was a Ford Ranger with a board for a parking brake that wouldn’t break 60 mph downhill and ate starters like anyone else’s vehicle ate gas. I now have my seventh vehicle, a 2002 Mustang GT. Trust me, it’ll break 60 mph.

It seems as if most of my cousins, who grew up more like brothers and sisters to me, all have children now — or have them on the way. I basically have a tab at Babies ‘R Us right now.

If my friends and relatives my age do not have children now, guess what? They’re all getting married now when yours truly remains on the market. Visions of me having to use my cane to knock about 14 ferocious, whining cats sitting in my clawed-up massage chair alone are in my head. I’m shivering now.

Izzy B. Stardust, the small kitten I adopted from a Kentucky animal shelter almost three years ago when I lived in Ohio — the kitten I worried would not be able to climb into his litter box when I brought him home — is now 20 pounds of pure lard, fur and attitude.

One of my best friends from childhood who was a whining mess after watching the “Dark Shadows” vampire miniseries back in the early 1990s is now in mortuary school.

Josh Hunter, Josh Felty, B. Barker, Alex Neal, John and Marie Stroud and Niki Jividen (forgive me if I left someone out!) — my best friends who used to live within practical shouting distance now live hours away. Some are just a day trip away — others require vacation time for a visit. John has actually been deployed to Iraq.

Joe Lewis Pridemore and Kathleen Gore Hatfield, my paternal grandfather and my maternal grandmother, two of the biggest staples in my life, are gone now. Christmas has never been the same.

One thing that always remains the same is that change is constant — often mind-blowing.

Remember the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future in Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”? They can teach more people than mean Mr. Scrooge a lesson — and more than the lessons shown by Dickens.

Some people are obsessed with living in the past. They try to hold onto childhood, the hope a lost love will return, and the days spent with a loved one who has passed away and other things of the sort. We cannot abandon the past. In fact, doing so is harmful because the past has shaped the people we are today and the people we will become. Looking back also helps us prevent the mistakes we have made in days bygone, so we will never repeat them.

However, if we continue to live in the past, we cannot move forward to reap the blessings that are yet to come. I miss my grandparents, my old friends and the places in which I used to live like crazy, but I have a wonderful new life here, with wonderful new people in it to boot. Think about it: If time did not pass and we continued to be children, would we get to meet the loves of our lives or have the children and grandchildren we have?

Then, we have those who only want to “live in the moment.” For some moments, that’s great, but as I’ve grown older, I’ve learned (sometimes the really hard way) that you can’t live life by the seat of your pants all the time. Take impulse shopping for example. An outfit or picture frame isn’t going to hurt. Cars, boats and houses are an entirely different story. Just watch an episode of “Behind the Music” on VH1 or E! “True Hollywood Story.” Watch for the part where the narrator says, “And that’s where it all went downhill ....”

We always have to be concerned about what tomorrow will bring. We need to save money, plan ahead — but not to the point where we totally ignore what’s swirling around us or the point where we’re not living.

Time for me is my worst enemy and my best friend. It has taken away my grandparents, the Florida beach and gazebo I adored so dearly and just the times in general that were just so much more simple — times without deadlines, rent and bills. On the same hand, it has brought me this career I live, eat and breathe, new friends I adore and a chance to come back to the home state I love.

If I had it my way, I just wish I had three adjoining rooms — one for the past, present and future. Instead of telling all my new friends or any children or significant others I may have later about how wonderful my grandparents or old friends were, I could let them see for themselves. When I tire of bills and deadlines, I could walk back to the past and play “spotlight” with all of my high school friends again. Then I could get a glimpse into the future and possibly see I’m not doomed to a life as the “scary cat lady” after all (I hope).

So, when you spend time with those you love, during whatever holiday you celebrate, make every moment count. Remember the good times — and a little of the bad because they make us all stronger. Then as we venture into the new year, let’s all look forward to better times — especially for single cat lovers.

— E-mail:

apridemore@register-herald.com

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