I was glancing through some old Stranger posts when I came across the image above. I shared that one with you on January 11, 2013, just over three years ago now. I captioned that photo "My two pairs of shoes. I wear the flip-flops to and from work (and everywhere else). When I get to work I change into my 'business' sandals, pictured on the right. Truthfully, most of the day I walk around my office barefoot. Life is hard in Palau."
I had a weird sensation when I saw this photo just now. I remember the feeling so vividly of switching into the sandals on the right that I can still feel exactly where the clip would uncomfortably rest under my foot, since I was usually too lazy to put them on correctly by clipping them in place. I can still feel the way that relatively cool tile floor felt on my bare feet, which were firmly planted against it for most of the day in that Palauan office. I remember so vividly looking down at those feet many times a day, unfazed by the dozens of ants usually crawling on them.
But more than anything, I remember so clearly what it was like to live that life. When I wrote "Life is hard in Palau" I knew that in that context the statement would come across facetiously, although I secretly meant it sincerely.
Somehow three years have gone by since I sent that image across the quiet Pacific and into your homes, wherever you were. And while in a lot of ways it sort of feels like everything has changed, my connection to this image and the way it is making me feel right now is leaving me with a sense that nothing has changed.
And that's strange. And it's strange that I can feel the feeling I'm feeling so deeply and be unable to explain that feeling to you any better than I just have.
It's strange that I can so deeply long for aspects of that past while simultaneously so dramatically proclaim gratitude that that past has passed.
And while I recognize that the change, the one that has made that time feel so foreign to the who-I-am-now, is ultimately a very good thing, I can't help but wish I could somehow undo a bit of that change.
I think that's ok.
~It Just Gets Stranger