We look to the past in times of change. When we feel the ground beneath our feet move slightly, shake scarily and crack and fall to pieces in front of our eyes, we look back. We go through old photos, flip through birthday cards and slam books, re-read old diaries and watch videos filled with memories and joy. We smile to ourselves. We think happy thoughts. We dread the present and glorify the past.
We begin to believe that old friends were loyal, trustworthy, and basically awesome and no one seems to match up to them now. The places we lived in earlier were always better. The people we already know are smarter, more interesting and superior than the people we now meet. Days are longer or shorter than before. We were better versions of ourselves in the past. Life was easier. Complications were lesser. Responsibilities were negligible. Fun times were more prevalent. Or so we think.
Every time we look back at our life, this is what we think. Every time we turn around we find some parts that we wish we could hold on to. The times. The memories. The people. A version of ourselves. A version of how life should be.
The clock chimes in the background. We hear it. We keep counting the hours, days and weeks. But, then we stop. It doesn’t seem worth it. We spend a lot of time wishing, pondering, whining, and waiting for something to look familiar, something to happen that would ignite memories, just something that would reassure us that nothing has changed. We are frozen in time. Everything around us seems to move but we are still stuck, looking around and trying to find something that would help us take that first step. Like a child reaching out for his mother’s hand, we stretch out our arms towards the past, hoping that it will take our hands and carry us to safety and comfort. We wait and we wait. But, nothing happens.
The clock chimes. Time keeps moving, so we take part in whatever engulfs us because we have no choice. We submit assignments. We complete deadlines. We take up projects. We attend social gatherings. We go sightseeing. We have potentially life altering discussions. We travel. We rest. We eat. We sleep. We keep going without really engaging. Like robots we go through life waiting, still waiting for the past to take us back to that place of comfort. We are still frozen.
The clock keeps chiming every hour but we barely notice it now. We tune it out because it doesn’t matter. Life doesn’t feel right and that is what bothers us. We write in our diaries, we rant to our friends, we write poems about it, make video blogs and write scripts all based on similar themes -life not being good enough, things changing around us and feeling lost. Our prayers, conversations, texts, snap-chats, whatsapp messages, twitter hash tags, Face Book statuses, picture captions, all convey the same message- #nostalgic #oldisgold #lifehaschanged #needabreak
The clock continues chiming. The feelings remain the same.
Then one day, once again, we go through old photos, flip through birthday cards and slam books, re-read old diaries and watch videos filled with memories and joy. We go through it all and suddenly we hear it; the clock chiming. We hear it again and again and again. We try to tune it out. But, we still hear it. Loud and clear. We put our hands over our ears to shut out the sound. But it continues chiming again and again and again and again. We close our eyes and hope that the sound stops. But, it doesn’t. It grows louder. It grows shriller. It resonates in our head. It pulses through our body. It speeds up our heartbeat. It overwhelms us. It takes over.
We look around helplessly wondering what to do to turn this sound off. We look around trying to figure out what is going on. We look around. Then we see it. We look around. Then we understand.
It has been 6 years. 6 years since life has changed. But, as we look around, we see the same place. The same place we were in 6 years ago. The exact same place. 6 years later that’s where we are.
The chiming slows down. It goes back to the background again. We remove our hands from over our ears. Our heartbeat slows down. We look around, turning slowly to take in the landscape. Our heart stops for a second as we look around at the 6 years we wasted; the 6 whole years we wasted, pining for the past.