It's so easy to fall into a desire to want to go back, change things, make different decisions. We see the past pretty clearly though it was fraught and confusing when it was the present. Every adult knows this. Despite knowing that you cannot go back, and that you made the best decision you could at the time, you can spend much of your life second-guessing.
I knew very early on that I wanted a family, to be a mother. I've never reconsidered that. Having had a special needs child, I still never spend a second reconsidering that childhood assertion. I just had to deal with the parental cards I was dealt.
This past weekend, I went back in time with Anne, visiting the sites and locations of the summer where we met and worked at the Utah Shakespeare Festival. The travel there was easy for me, difficult for Anne. The memories triggered by all the photographs, and then actual buildings and spaces, were hilarious and fun.
But without a doubt, the most wonderful thing about this trip, beyond the girl time together and remembering how silly we were at 20 and 21, was the people. In the course of the 2 days we were at the Festival over the weekend, we saw 8 people who were involved with (in leadership, performance, or creative direction) the Festival when we were young stitchers with something to prove. Though they didn't all remember us precisely, there was this unabashed kindness and enthusiasm from them welcoming us back to Cedar City and the Festival. Each conversation was more than a passing one, and allowed us to laugh and reminisce and catch up a little (or a lot) and just feel good. It triggered the best kind of memory of all - I worked here, and the people I worked with are good, kind people. Hardworking people who have made a life in the arts.
Looking back, even though I left the arts to do other things, I'm not second guessing my decision to take that job and move 2500 miles across the country for a summer to do it. It was worth every second of that summer.
And to my old friends with whom I reconnected this weekend, I'm sorry that I stopped the conversations short sometimes with my awkward, sad news. If there were anything I could go back and change, it would be that I even had to break news like that. Knowing what excellent people you are, I can only wish that you could have known Connor. I bet you would have gotten along famously.