the defining twitch
I never planned to live to be 30 years old. Apparently this is pretty common - for people to think that they would only live to be a relatively young age. An old friend of mine thought that he was going to live to be 27. After Tyler died at 23, I sort of developed the mentality that all bets were off.
"I turned 30, and then I moved back in with my parents." I say it jokingly, but I'm 100% serious. A few things happened earlier this year, including finding out that my apartment was not dog friendly after Parker and I lived there for four years, all which led me to move back into the house I grew up in - with my parents in the South Bay.
It was an incredibly weird feeling moving (most of) my childhood things out of my room - something I'll admit I should have done years ago. Magazine clip outs of my favorite celebrities, volleyball trophies, college admission letters, notes that my friend and I passed each other in the first grade. Way too many Beanie Babies, journals since I was in middle school, photos of high school crushes, and tons of letters. My room was this time capsule of everything I had accomplished - shaping who I am today, and where I am now.
But right then I was stuck staring at my past - which was suddenly in my way. In my way of living right now.
My superpower is that I'm a sentimental person (I get it from my mom). I can pick up a specific deck of playing cards from 21 years ago, and suddenly teleport to a different decade. Or put on this silver ring I bought myself that was way too big, and I remember imagining that my crush bought for me. It's a blessing and a curse. Once a therapist put it nicely and said that I have the ability "to make strong associations". She also continued saying that "(for example) not everyone has this ability to be at the grocery store and remember that [you] said you needed something from the grocery store too."
I'm the type of person who loves to have certain photos from 2010 stored locally on my phone, my favorite videos, and certain albums (just in case I don't have signal and need music). I also have to save all my text message threads with my favorite people, including all the shared videos and photos. I don't like deleting anything.
Sometime last year my iPhone stopped working. Text messages weren't sending, apps were crashing - it was a 21st century nightmare.
I was trying to coordinate meeting up with someone, and just nothing was going through. I remember I restarted my phone maybe 10 times, did a bunch of Googleing. I eventually found out that my phone had about 250 MB left of space left on it. Frantically / sadly I deleted what felt like hundreds of photos, unused apps, and old unloved music. Nothing.
I found that iMessages was taking up all my storage. I started from the bottom and one-by-one deleted old conversations with people who I hadn't talked to in maybe a year. Still stuck.
I finally came across a text message thread with someone I considered my best friend for seven years. Someone who I thought would be in my life for a very long time. We were at a point where we were on a "break" and weren't talking/texting, but it wasn't clear if the break was - forever. But just in case, for when he'd be ready to talk again, I had this thread and we could just pick up where we left off. As if nothing happened.
I swiped left, and as my thumb hovered over that red "DELETE" button - partial glimpses of memories flashed through my mind. Before I knew it my thumb made contact with the glass. I actually think I twitched. I gasped.
And then it was gone.
I suddenly had 10 GB (out of 32GB) of unused space on my phone, and instantly everything was fine. All my text messages were flowing normally, and life continued to go on.
A few months ago I was telling this story to some ladies at a women's camping trip, when I realized that this relationship and part of my past was literally not letting me live in the present. Preventing me from seeing and communicating with people in the now. (If it's actually causing problems, does it still count as a "sign"?)
In jest, I said - "Tell that story to the next girl who doesn't want to let go."
I am still bad at letting go, and apparently the "sign" still needs be literally right in front of my face. But mental space is as important as physical space - and apparently hardware disk space, in order to be present to keep moving forward. To keep living.