When I was younger, I was struck with a malaise sense of what I liked to call pre-longing. During summers, while I was hanging out with friends who had graduated while I was still preparing for another year of high school, I would imagine the idea of missing them in my future. Though they were right in front of me, I felt a sense of yearning for days gone by. As I grew older, and my grandparents aged, I would get that same uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach, imagining the loss and the hole in my heart that would remain when they were gone. I would work hard to remember every conversation, every laugh, in hopes that I would harness the feeling of warmth and family when the time came that I couldn't be around them.
These episodes of pre-longing were generally much stronger than the actually feeling of loss that would occur after the fact. When friends moved away to college, I missed them but was busy with school and activities and new friendships. When my grandparents passed away, rather than feeling as though I needed to gasp for air, I took comfort in my children, babies at the time, and held them close as I watched the full circle of life unfolding before my eye, from cradle to the grave. When we lose something, we live with it and move forward. When we imagine losing something, we imagine we will not be capable of doing so. At least for me.
Now I imagine what my house will feel like in 15 years when my children are ready to leave the nest, and I can hardly stand it. I love them for the little people that they are now, small and cuddly and full of imagination, and I want that forever. I know that when the time comes, they will be ready, and in some way, so will I. I also know that I waste a lot of energy and time thinking about this when I should be fully in the moment and enjoying them today.
In general, I'm quite satisfied with life and the way things go; I appreciate the past and look forward to the future. At the same time, I am a huge planner and daydreamer, so I sometimes forget about today, which is the day that I will one day look back upon fondly as "the good old days." I don't miss any particular part of my past, from childhood to the college years to singledom and now marriage and family, but at times I long for bits and pieces of my past. The ability to jump on an airplane and travel when and where I want with minimal preparation. The comfort of being a child ready to sleep in her family home. The energy on a college campus. I wouldn't want to go back, but I do long for some of those bits and pieces of the life that I've lived to this point.
Why all this talk of longing? It's the topic of the Group Blogging Experience, a.k.a. GBE 2, a weekly blogging challenge that has attracted nearly 200 bloggers of every type. There are spots open.
Now, after that long background on the topic of longing, I will pare it down for you with a poem. I challenge you to think of what longing means to you, when you've longed for something, and break it down short and sweet and poetic.
writercize: Tap into your emotional attachments to people and things. Write a poem on the topic of "longing."
Click "read more" for writercizer very brief sample response.writercizer response:
daydreaming of tomorrow
when i know i'll be
longing for today.
head and heartplay tug of war in the middle.