When the Past Meets the Present

Today I got a few texts from a girl I used to hang out with in college. She wasn’t a best friend or anything, but I remember many lunches in the square, plenty of crazy talks in the gazebo late at night, and lots of laughter. I hadn’t heard from her since those days of way too much fun and discovery.

So, there I was this morning, sitting on a bench in the Village enjoying breakfast, listening to a stranger play love songs on an instrument I didn’t recognize. In came a series of texts saying that somehow, years later, my life back then had inspired this girl today to live in the moment and be spontaneous. My first reaction was, admittedly, “Uh-oh, what did I inspire?” Then I got to thinking about my life back then.

I was a little crazy, for sure. Not like you’re probably thinking right now, though. I skipped the sorority scene and the keg parties. I didn’t hit the football games or the campus protests. I was crazy in a follow-your-heart kind of way. I had somehow figured out when to throw caution to the wind and let life take over. I found myself in a completely impractical, terrible-on-paper romance that made little sense to the rational. But it made sense to me, right there in that moment. And years later, I still say that the journey was worth the ride. The fights were worth the discovery. When it came to that terribly impractical decision, my in-the-moment instinct had been right and their makes-no-sense-on-paper rebuttal had been wrong.

I did a lot of things like that back then. I’d get dressed up at the last minute super late at night and hit an underground Manhattan club. I’d say what I thought without thinking about what I’d say next. I’d jump into the pool without worrying if it would be too cold and I’d have to jump right back out again. I wasn’t into danger; I was into living. I wasn’t afraid of the journey because I was too focused on enjoying it. If I had something to say to someone, I said it. And if I wanted to be somewhere, I went.

I have no idea what my life back then inspired my old friend to do today. I still haven’t asked, and I’m not sure I will. What I do know is that her reminder to me of the girl who would inspire that spontaneity came at just the right time. It’s a very strange feeling when your own past inspires you to change your present. Or at least to try like hell to adjust your mind.

So, to my old friend, who is hopefully not climbing the Empire State Building as I type this, thank you. 

Jedediah Bila is co-host of Outnumbered on Fox News from 12-1pm ET. Follow Jedediah on Twitter @JedediahBila.