I recently came across this blog of photos from our hometown of Rochester, New York.
This one in particular struck me because when I first looked at it, I was surprisingly taken aback, as the photo felt like a ghost of some kind. Maybe it’s the three cars on the street or the wrapped up stop light. But it’s like someone took the living soul out of this building and replaced it with glass and concrete. But I realized that it really had nothing to do with the building, and not really Rochester itself.
It’s the fact that how I remember this building is by my memories from years ago. At one point, both my parents worked at Kodak right down the street from this corner, and as a kid, everything looked so big. So unreachable. So full of life. Everything was new. Or new-ish to me, at least. So much to be explored despite the fact that the edifices themselves had been there for years.
But through the lens of an adult, as someone who hasn’t lived there and driven past this area (or paid attention) in at least eight years, it looks so lifeless. Maybe it’s because now I understand the real life outcomes that can stem from empty buildings. How businesses can go under. How hundreds of people that worked in buildings just like this can become unemployed and how it affected their families. How a once bustling downtown is merely a string of buildings at only half capacity.
Being an adult makes you see things through a different lens, like once rose colored glasses that have since become faded and yet gained more clarity. It takes you out of seeing the painting as a whole, and finally noticing the colors and details of every brushstroke. It makes you realize that something that once was, never will be, even if it’s made anew – for better or worse. And being an adult is realizing that those snapshots were mere moments in time, that we take in and learn from, no matter how vibrant or lifeless it may be.