As a society, we are forever focused on moving forward. We crave the newest phones, the newest cars, the newest computers. The world around us is faster paced than ever before, Home cooked meals have been replaced with numerous fast food chains that seem to pop up over night, and dinner time conversation has become yelling at the television during a sporting event.
Instead of stopping to smell the roses, we are downloading digital ones. Social interaction is done by text messaging rather than actually speaking to one another. Education is becoming optional, with schools letting out more and more for pointless breaks. Higher education is too expensive for many, and our intelligence is measured by standardized tests.
We work hard to make money, and we dream of spending that money on grand and glorious things–like a vacation. But often times, it is the work itself that prevents us from doing much more than working. Never ending cycle.
With everything spinning so far and so fast, everything being propelled forward, it is very difficult for any of us to turn our heads and look into the past. Indeed, so often we are taught to keep our eyes forward and let the past remain in the past. It is important to not allow the past to rule us, no matter negative or positive. But it is equally important to remember that our history defines us as people.
I do not speak of such things like wars, and actions of our ancestors. I speak of our individual histories. The reason I have brought this up and made it a point to make a blog about it is I have been in a very bad place mentally for a few months now. As terrifying as it is for me to admit, this cycle almost broke me. I’ve cried more recently than I have in much of my life. I’ve felt more alone now more than ever before. It is difficult to hold on to hope, to hold on to dreams, when it feels as though the world around you is crumbling every time you look around. It was the closest I’ve come to being broken by my own mind in a very long time.
One night in particular I was in my bed, my mind racing with thoughts. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t do much more than cry. I had lost so much hope, and faith, in so many things….especially myself. You may be asking yourself now why I began the blog talking about society and the future, when now I talk about myself and the past. It’s simple. The past, for once, saved me. Instead of turning my thoughts to the future, I turned them to the past. Normally this is an equally terrible thing to do, as I have many demons and skeletons waiting to throw all of my mistakes in my face to rub salt into the wounds. I forced myself to focus on those who had passed before me. I focused on my grandfather, so hard until I could hear his voice. I focused on my friend after whom my daughter is named until I could hear her voice. I remembered them, remembered their smiles, their words. Death puts quite a bit into perspective. The living are caught in the fast paced, never ending cycle of the world around us…. but the dead are not. We are little more than the memories we leave behind. Those people, now gone, were proud of me. Those people, now given a fresh perspective and now no longer forced to follow in that cycle, have left memories fro me to recall and draw faith from. The memories from the dead are more comforting at times because of this.
This led to more happy memories. More happy snapshot moments in my head that helped me see that perhaps the world wasn’t a dark and cold place like it sometimes seems. It reminded me that…. sometimes we fail. Sometimes we fall. Sometimes we are beaten, and sometimes we are broken. Sometimes, however if we listen hard enough to our pasts, we’ll find whispers long forgotten that can help us pull through. They cannot necessarily heal us, no that is left up to us to do. The memories are a stepping stone. We cannot rely on the past to do everything for us, and we cannot fear the future. Needless to say the only thing that successfully committed suicide that night was the negativity rattling me to the core. It won’t stay away, obviously, as this is as much a never ending cycle as the new phones we crave each year. But for now, I can use my time to create a few more happy memories to use as ammunition in the future.
Another lesson I gathered from this, and this one made me truly rethink myself–We are a huge influence on other people. I began to wonder how many of my friends often found themselves in similar positions, searching their pasts for any hope, or any light in the darkest tunnel. It made me think…. Am I being the type of person that I want to be? Am I being the person whose memories would help pull them through? Am I being true to myself, and to those around me? It is quite a bit to think about.
It is now that I end with this. I urge each and every one of you to stop, for just a bit. Put down your phones, shut your computers, park your cars. Reach out to your friends, to your families. Love them entirely. You never know when it is your voice, memories of you, that may help pull them out of a bad place.