Saturday, July 24, 2010


I've had quite the chance to reminisce lately. My husband recently met up with friends from way back in '95, and then just over the last few days we camped with Canadian friends we'd met even earlier, when we were both earning our masters degrees.

My husband loved it. He somehow remembered names of so many people in his program, certain classes, certain parties/days/events/words said. He had a smile on his face the whole time. The friends seemed to like it, too, mentioning certain people and times, smiling, sighing.

Me? Um... not so much. It's not that I hated it. I just find the present far more interesting. I'd rather enjoy the kids as they are now, not as they once were. I don't intentionally forget things, but they have less meaning once they are over. I guess I just don't live in the past.

Either that, or, more likely, these particular "pasts" simply didn't give me much that resonated in my soul, and if they didn't, I pretty much forgot them. I don't miss my life then, don't miss the way I looked or felt then... or at least the parts of my life these people reminded me of were not the parts I cared about that much.

I can't say I reminisce often. I don't go through all of my wedding photos all the time, oohing and ahhing over people's outfits (or my own dress). My kids' baby pictures are even pretty neglected. Perhaps that is why I've never taken up scrapbooking.

Some things do resonate with me, but they are not the kinds of things to share with others. (Perhaps this is where my introverted tendencies shine through.) They are moments when I felt something, moments that were likely only meaningful to me, and trying to share them with friends who were standing there but didn't feel what I felt simply wouldn't work.

After she watched the fourth Harry Potter film, Mom said she didn't like it as much as the previous ones because Harry was on his own so much. But I didn't mind, perhaps because, even if my journey is shared with others, my response to the journey is private. It's mine alone, and thus the experience is too.

Ten people going through the exact same event will see it differently. What recharges my battery--hiking in green forests, playing with my kids, painting, playing piano, writing--will not recharge my husband's, and his interests could not fail to drive me insane. We've been together over 21 years, sharing our lives, yet our life experience is radically different.

Ironically, reading (a primarily solitary activity) gives me the chance to share the inward experience of a person, or a select few (the fewer the better, as far as I'm concerned). It's probably the only chance I'll have to live through another person. Movies do the same, and my experience watching them is always best when I can forget that others are watching, too. Voice-overs allow us to hear thoughts of the characters, so see the world exactly as they do.

Life doesn't offer the same opportunity, for we can never truly share the most intimate world of those around us, even those we are very close to. My children, even when very young, had depths to them I realized I would not ever fathom, and the moment they could speak they also knew instinctively when to keep certain thoughts private. At nine, my daughter already has a seriousness that I cannot penetrate, and probably never will.

And though I seem pretty confessional in this venue, I have parts of myself that I simply haven't shared with anyone. I live around, among, alongside, and cooperatively with tons of people, but they will never truly know who I am. We are all on a shared journey, yet in part we all travel alone.

Your thoughts? What resonates with you from your past, if anything? Do you keep yourself to yourself, or do you share everything with someone? Do you have parts of yourself that you still keep hidden, even from those you love?


  1. Thankyou for a lovely post. I agree with you entirely. My husband also loves to go on and on about the past but I just don't understand that part of him. I guess it's because I am happier now than I have been at any other time in my life. I love the present.
    And yes I also agree that we also travel partly alone in life and that is why it is so important to make peace with ourselves before we can accept and love others unconditionally. :)

  2. I have to confess, I don't reminisce much, either. I'm more into living life than remembering it.

  3. I'm not much consumed with the past either. I find history interesting, but I'm more interested in lessons that apply to today and events that shaped our present.

  4. I've very much in the here and now. I try to neither mull over the past nor worry too much about the future. I do like reminiscing about the good old days (haha) every once in a while though :)

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