It is not a kind thing we do to ourselves – the pretense, or maybe sometimes sincere belief, that what has gone was better than what we have here, somehow.
The psychic distance we glean from the passage of time, and our own forgetting, lets us access the yesterdays without the nuance. Sometimes this is a mercy.
When I was younger, I was happier.
A year ago, things made sense.
I had it so good then, I didn’t even know.
These sorts of thoughts are almost cruel, in the haven they promise, hazy times-gone-by, keenly sweet like a childhood film that touched us; offering solace in a past that isn’t a place, in a thing that isn’t real.
Change is awful.
A friend of mine, who knows about things, tells me that they’ve found that people who experience great change – both great positive change and great negative change – feel very, and comparably, stressed. Change is frightening, even when it’s good.
The joy I have before me, that I believe I have before me, isn’t actually tainted by the uncertainty; they may not even meet each other. The pain I have had before was real at the time, too.
To time travel. To relive. To remain static, stagnant, safe. To experience the good and none of the bad.
With a faceless tomorrow that owes us nothing, who can’t see the appeal?
And to be able to selectively relinquish memories, even temporarily, would make my own life indescribably easier.
I suspect that the antidote may be to loosen my grip on the yesterdays, even the ones that comfort, and to feel the ground beneath me instead. To feel grateful to live and grow older, as not all of us do.