When I am reading my old diary entries, or looking at photos of a younger me, I can never get my head around that that was ME. I was there; I wrote that. Those thoughts came from the same mind that is writing this now. I am all for “living in the moment,” but I hate how little perspective this NEXT NEXT NEXT life gives us. We are all so focused on this minute—or more than that, the next minute. I wish I could bridge the gap between the past me and me now, because I feel oddly detached from myself. I look back and think, Whoa, how did I get here?
Sometimes I am able to have an odd perspective: I realize that one day I will look back at this time and everything that feels so intense to me now, and it will feel just as remote as my old diaries do today. I will look at a picture that will sum up a whole year or more of how I used to dress, how I wore my hair. The news that infiltrates my life every evening—the fighting in Syria, the Leveson media inquiry, the European economy in absolute turmoil—will be just points on a timeline, no more significant than any others over the decades. And although at the age of 18 I feel incredibly old and reasonably wise, I know that one day I will see how young and naïve I really am.
It’s odd that I have to think about even this time last year very hard, to remember what it was actually like. The further away you get from something, the harder it is to remember, and that’s good, in a way. Especially if you don’t want a bad experience hanging over you. But at the same time, I wish I could hold all my experiences at once. I wish I could hold my whole life so far in the palm of my hand and feel it as it really was. ♦