This last Tuesday night, I got off the bus after work heading to a place I was staying at for a week while my parents were on vacation. It’s dark, it’s almost 9:00, and I step off feeling a strong, crazy sense of deja vu. Deja vu was easily the appropriate phrase of that week, as I walked down very familiar streets and took very familiar bus routes, all around where I used to live with family friends nearly three years ago. At the time, it was common for me to get off work fairly late and head back home, getting dropped off at the same spot and walking the distance to finish my trip. Only this time, since I was staying somewhere else, after passing a street and walking a few blocks, I took a right instead of a left. That’s when the similarities practically ended, and it’s jarring.
When I went back to the house the second night there last week, I had to remind myself out loud to take a different turn than what I remember being used to. It was a weird experience feeling like I had fallen into the past. Just to make it even weirder, I played music on my iPhone that I used to listen to all the time during my trips back home three years ago. Then, while reliving these walks over a couple nights, I got to reflect on what has changed in my life. I got to reflect on how I’ve changed.
Nearly four years ago was when I went through some of the worst depression I’ve ever experienced in my life before and since. It was a cluster of different factors that caused this, but while I have a few fond memories of that time period, I realize they’re honestly few and far between, especially when I take a step back and look at the bigger picture of it all. While walking back to the place I was staying at, I also happened to be texting my girlfriend, even joking that I have fallen into the past and that I’m talking to my girlfriend from the future, which made the whole experience even stranger. Three years ago, I didn’t have a phone plan, so there was no texting while walking back home. I even stopped at the crossroads where I had to take a right and took pictures of the same streetlights I took pictures of three years ago. It was an experience of revisiting the past, but also realizing what I’ve gained since then. A higher self-esteem, a better view of myself, an amazing girlfriend whom I’ve been with for nearly two years now and, though it’s a small thing, a freaking phone plan. I even spent a few minutes thanking God for the things I learned at the time and what I’ve gained since then.
The second half of the week was almost another beast entirely. It’s possible the gloomy weather had something to do with it, but I felt more down about being in the neighborhood. I wished that things didn’t go as badly as they did back then, and I wished for some of the things I lost at that time. It goes to show that not all wounds just disappear overnight. People still have scars, and it takes years for some people to truly heal. Nearly three years isn’t that long a time. During this time, I had to basically rebuild my self-esteem from the ground up and seek out counseling in order to get help moving on. Even after all this, a few scars still remain. I still think about that nine-month period from over three years ago at least once or twice a week. Still, one thing I did realize even with the lower second half of the week, I am stronger than I was then. I have a much more positive view of myself now. I actually kind of like myself now, which is saying a lot compared to how I felt several years ago. I want to live a life of purpose and go far. I’d be lying if I said that that’s exactly what I wanted for myself several years ago.
To all those who rooted for me at that time and still do now, thank you.