Let’s face it; most of us suffer from it at some point or another. I catch myself at it much less these days – there have been times where I’ve clawed at the past, wishing myself back. That’s not something I’ve done lately, although I still catch myself looking at memories through a soft focus lens.
I was trying to work out some dates for a scrapbook I’ve been making of my college days. My college days changed my life, and it took me so long to stop hankering after them, despite the fact that I was more than ready to leave at the end. They are most often the context of my ‘golden age syndrome’.
But I was young and it was not always easy. Looking at old diary entries (with the inevitable embarrassment) I realise I had huge struggles with confidence which often had me clamped down with nervousness or stress, at least in the early days. My tiredness made the balance of full time study difficult, and I had to withdraw from many ‘extra curricular’ things because of it – which often distressed me and made me feel isolated. Reading about my own disappointments over having to give up my practical placement and being unable to be involved in the creative things I adored (drama, music), I am slightly shocked. I had forgotten how sad it had made me. At one point I am steeling myself for the inevitable talk with my supervisor and my tutor and I write: Dear God, please don’t let me cry and be incoherent and stupid. This is the best thing, I know. But I wanted it to be different. Oh God, I wanted it to be different.
Not exactly golden.
The golden bits were what grew out of all that – or should I say, as I grew into myself, growing (sometimes painfully) in experience, relationships and a courage that has never come naturally.
(Reading on from the above entry, I did actually work through this disappointment, through my learning and my loving. So much that I say: These days I am astounded by the megaphone of God. These days I am amazed by what I am becoming. Something of a contrast! And I did find a different, more manageable placement – not acting or singing but visiting the elderly. I probably made more difference doing that, if I’m honest.)
Anyway. This growing and becoming meant that returning to the college always brings with it a volley of emotion (my first experience of that is here).
So I had to smile when I came across this entry, written over 10 years ago, in my first term.
You can’t recreate the past. So you make the present from scratch. It may be different, but that is not necessarily bad. It may seem strange and new, but that does not mean it is not special. There is no point holding to the ‘what might have been’s, all there is now is the ‘what can be’s. ‘What can be’ is a very exciting phrase, if you look at it with the right view. It is no reason to turn your back on the old if it is good, but to understand that what was then is not what is now. God is the only eternal. The rest is transitory. Because God is eternal, the hope of God exists in every time, however bleak things may seem.
I take my hat off to the good things of the past.
I wait in earnest for the good things of the future.
I live here. In the present.
24th November, 2000
Thus saith me. And I close my own mouth.