I have virtually no memories of my past. In fact, most memories only go back a decade or so, although there are sporadic incidents that remain available for my recall. One such quite bizarre memory is from the mid to late 1970s and soaking in a bath in my house in Enfield, North London. I think it was a few years later, but for neatness let’s say it was 1975. That’s 40 years ago. Forty years is a very long time. It’s also a very short time.
As I lay there I thought about my future as yet unknown older self and the things I was yet to experience, and thought about my younger self and the things I had already experienced. I mused over many things and wondered what I would say if I was able at that moment in time to communicate a sentence or two to my younger self. Would I be able to warn the younger me to not make the awful choices I had made, to be less ‘conservative’, less dogmatic, less angry and to take chances, and also to maybe stop and build bridges, as well try to see the other side of things? Maybe the complexity of relationships and the lies and deceit that you never realise exist until much later, would warn a younger me of relationships and how to avoid them!
I then mused about the future me. I wondered, if I could hear a message from future me, what it would say. Would it give me guidance for future choices? Indeed, what was my future to be? How long would I live for? Would I ever find peace and a sense of fulfilment rather than the nagging emptiness and feeling of failure that had dogged me for most of my life since childhood?
I don’t recall during those following four decades ever again having similar bath musings, or puzzling over passing messages through time from me to me. However, when I recently mentally revisited my memory of my 1975 bath, I considered what info I might pass back to me 40 years ago.
The answer is probably nothing. If I was to telegraph to the younger me the further failings and disasters I was to experience in those four decades, then the me that is writing this right now would be a different me. I am a sum of my experiences, my successes and my failures. Without the good and the bad I would be different right now.
Do I want to be different right now?
Well, I’m getting older and I really don’t like it. I don’t do ‘old’ at all well, and nothing I could message the younger me is going to stop that inevitable aging. Even saying, “It’s as bad as you feared!” isn’t too constructive either.
I have regrets, apart from not having eternal youth, and there are a few domestic comforts I could do with sorting, and my relationships with some folk could be better, but where I am now is ok.
Luckily, and probably as a sum of my previous disasters, I have found love, companionship and happiness with somebody I truly adore and feel more addicted to as each day goes by. I wish we’d gotten together and started our happy ever after many decades ago.
However, we both needed the sum of our experiences and for time to pass in order to both be moulded by life to fit the other. Forcing the issue by changing our histories would have meant different versions of ‘us’ gettin’ together and probably failing. So, annoyingly, it had to be the way it was. The way it is.
How could I say any of this to my 40 years younger self in the bath?
So. What to say, if only I could. Maybe I’d just tell me, ‘It’s ok, and it’s going to be ok, what will be will be, just make sure you equally enjoy the ups and the downs of the ride of your life’.