I’ve recently had the pleasure of reigniting a friendship with an old school friend. Actually we’ve been in contact off and on for the past 5 years, in and out of each other’s life, sharing fleeting moments of the intimacy of our long-term relationship. But very recently only just, once again, we’ve begun to scratch the surface, bringing to the fore the very essence of our relationship. Remembering our past schinanigans, and reveling in the fact that, after so so many years, we can still share our deepest thoughts, in the knowledge that these thoughts will be kept safe and sound.
So that when, as an adult, you talk about moving on and leaving the past behind, I always wonder how in heaven’s name can you actually do this. Your past is never really left behind. You may not want to think about it, remember it, or even re-live it, but the reality is that your past – the things we want to leave behind – is in fact what makes us who we are.
It shapes us, it enriches us, and if we are truly honest with ourselves, we would admit that we keep our past safely tucked away in our hearts. Easily accessible at any moment. We refer to it in times of need. And I’m not only talking about the good memories we want to live over and over again. I’m also talking about those moments and events that, all things being equal, we would not want to re-live. But when we examine ourselves closely, we realise that these are the moments, the bits of our past, that have made us strong, confident, empathetic, warm, gentle, understanding. In essence the moments that have made us more human.
Yes there are many people in my life that live in my past. Some I would love to meet again, some I don’t really care to ever see again. Similarly there are experiences that I would love to have again, and some that, God forbid, I cringe at the very thought and I still secretly thank God that I’m still alive. But the mere fact that I can still feel and respond to these things in my past, tells me that they will always be with me. That in fact I’ve left nothing behind. What I have done is carefully packaged them and wrapped them up, so that one day when I need them the most, I can receive them again in the form that they were meant to be, as a gift in my life.
For, as my very dear friend reminded me,
‘Everything in my life – the good, the bad and the ugly – is a gift’,
and in accepting this, I will live a happier healthier life.