Some days are better than others. Some months are better than others. Some years…some decades… Yeah, you get the picture.
It’s easy to get lost in the past, isn’t it? You start by looking at old pictures and, hey, weren’t you so young and pretty? And, oh, didn’t you have a life back then – a job, a vision, a purpose; friends, family, home. Weren’t you so in love – with someone, with life, with yourself? And wasn’t the future so bright?
And what happened, in those years that followed? What turned the rainbow monochrome? What killed the magic stone-dead? Was it the first grey hair or the first deal that went west? The dimming of eyes or the dilution of love? Was there a definite point where it turned sour? Can you look back and see exactly that fork in the road where you made the big mistake, where you chose this way over that, or did it just float over you imperceptibly, like mist, until one day you woke up and the fog was so thick that you couldn’t even bite the hand in front of your face?
Isn’t it so damned unfair the way it never quite worked out the way you planned?
Ah, it’s so easy to get snaggled up in regret, in self-blame, in else-one blame, in disappointment and despair, isn’t it? You had your chance, you blew it and life will never be so rosy again. You’re washed up, old, tired, so bloody tired, and doesn’t the mirror delight in showing you how just plain nasty time can be?
Where did those days, weeks, months, years, decades go? It only seems a blink ago that you were standing, fresh–faced and hopeful at the prow of adulthood, peering into a future in which you could be anyone, do anything, go anywhere. And now? Now the walls crowd in around you. Time chews your face, biting it into furrows, spitting out lines.
Many of us have a golden time, a period, however fleeting, in which life felt good, the fates seemed kind. Or do we? Isn’t it all just hindsight? When I look through my photo albums at the pictures taken in my twenties, it looks like heaven. And, yes, it was a magical time. Looking back, I was one lucky bitch – I had the looks, the job, the flat, the friends, the fun. I knew what I wanted (work-wise), I went after it and I got it. I ticked off my goals one by one – first published feature, first feature in a broadsheet; first feature in a glossy woman’s mag; first feature in a tabloid; first column; first book; first TV appearance; first …oh, you get the idea. My love life was a shambles but hey, I had great work and fabulous friends and, as the song says, two out of three ain’t bad.
But you can’t turn back time, no matter how hard you wish you might. The past is sliding by, slippery like water – and, really, there is no past, it’s just memory. There is only now and what we choose to do with that now. And one can easily sit and drown oneself in the past, in that lovely lilac wine of Lethe that, if you drink enough, pulls you into a soft soporific befuddlement.
Or, alternatively, you can look back with love and a shrug, and then tug yourself into the here and now, gird your loins and all that malarkey and make of it something new.
Because if you don’t…if you can’t let go of the past, it will strangle you and squeeze out every last fragment of possible happiness. Cos time’s just a right bastard like that. J