So here’s the thing about old things, and how they take you for a ride along thrushes you did not see under your feet and which tripped you over nevertheless.
It could be anything — a bill for a decade-old ulcer, a ticket to Connaught Place for confronting your cheating lover in the British Council Library, a worn-out pen from your last semester in a mediocre grad school, a lighter from the first time your friends made you try out a Marlboro (Lite’s fine for you, chum.). It could have appeared quite insignificant in those days, but all of a sudden it is a harbinger of a life that feels strangely foreign by the day. In such turbulent times, every past day feels like a past year, until events from even five years ago flash past you as a bored marquee. The dissociation is complete, the memories now sudden pinpoints jerked into action by these tiny things one finds inside old purses and under tablecloths.
Our memories are shorter and shorter; the older ones are being archived into endless Google Photos folders, into newer mahogany shelves and Instagram story highlights. Our most recent memories are probably saturated with Ariana Grande’s breakup, increasingly innovative invective against Trump and what the girl said a week ago. Our capacities for memory, for cherishing and lavishing love are fading into obsolescence as we continue to externalize our entire thought processes.
In this case, is it really a good thing to be mindful (like all those gurus love throwing at you these days with sermons inside a New York Times op-ed)? Does it really matter or contribute to one’s life positively if we are present all the time, our minds saturated with the latest 24x7? On the contrary, our being bombarded with new (and snappier!) content constantly is making us lose our ability to reach out to the past and dwell on it, use it in future decisions…or maybe just float in nostalgia.
Sometimes, it is okay to not be present. To reminisce about when things weren’t so awful. To teleport mentally to a different decade and just for the love of God shut yourself away for a brief while from the endless stream of ‘news’ flooding our mobile phones and invading our sleep cycles.
I feel bad for Pete Davidson — but I really enjoy going through my six-year-old journal’s past treasures more, despite the obvious cringe-worthy writing I have to encounter. Sometimes, it really is necessary to let go of the present.