There is a change in the air. Even though it is still in the upper 80's and low 90's, there is something different.
Winter is coming.
I always get a bit melancholy this time of year. It makes me think about the past and the future. The kids are back in school (hurray) and the rhythm of life once again shifts gears.
I ran into an old acquaintance the other day that I had lost touch with and she was shocked that I was the one who wrote these columns. She knew me by another last name and had not made the connection.
I was different back when we used to hang out. Like everyone, I have undergone several metamorphosis in my life. When you lose touch with someone, your image of them remains stuck in the version you once knew.
It's hard not to do that but it does sometimes keep us from seeing people as they really are. I did not grow up around here so my past history with the community begins around 1980.
As an employer, it was hard to let staff help with the screening of potential hires because they sometimes remembered personal slights from the past and that affected their judgment of the person being considered.
Whether right or wrong, that fact also needs to serve to remind ourselves that the impression we leave on others is fairly lasting. We may get a chance to improve our standing in the eyes of another, but we may not. You never know what it is that will be the thing someone remembers about you.
The acquaintance I ran into remembers me being a single mom, struggling to get by both financially and emotionally. It was a tough time for me and it isn't the most shining period of my life. But it is part of my past and shapes who I am today. I learned a lot while going through it once I quit wallowing in my own self pity.
I might have a second chance to change her impression of me, or maybe not. I can't really worry too much about it. My concentration is here in the present and trying to be the best me I can be.
I also get to try and help another generation weave through this puzzle we call life. My granddaughter is in third grade and struggling with the shuffling of friendships that happen each year as the kids are assigned to different classes.
I am trying to help her cope with the changes in a way so that she will develop self confidence. It is also a struggle to make sure she is not a victim of bullying or for that matter being one herself.
I listen and try to offer strategies while she is convinced she is the only friendless girl in third grade. We will get through this together and she really has a lot of friends.
Meanwhile as I went looking for my sweaters so I can hide my fluff under that winter layer of clothes, I found my old high school year books. I sat and read all the stuff people had written in each one. You sure would have thought I was really cool back then.
If they only knew me now.