If Only…

April 20, 2010

There are things in your past that you regret the passing of, things you would love to go back to, if only you could. It might be a job; it might be a phase or an age; it might be a place; it might be something you didn’t get enough of, or didn’t appreciate enough when you had it; it might be something you did or didn’t do, or something you said, or should have said… it might be almost anything, but most often, it is a set of things that you wish you could somehow get back.

For me, in the work sphere, I wish I could go back to the good old KF days; or even further back to my journo days. I wish I could go back to 18, when my whole life lay ahead and there were so few mistakes behind me. I wish I could go back to those activities I treasured so much – horse riding and playing in an orchestra.

But that time has passed and taken with it the opportunities it had offered.

Never mind – what passed has been replaced with things I enjoy or value almost as much (or more). The job I have now suits where I am in life. My kids make up for most of the rest. And while it’s true that 18 has been replaced with 36, at least that’s my age and not my waistline! Besides, 36 comes with its own opportunities and even if it is not 18 and never will be, it’s not really so bad.

But when it comes to people, it’s a different story. As you leave behind other little bits of your life and your self, you leave behind some people as well. Friends, neighbours, classmates, colleagues, even some family members fall by the wayside, as life propels you forward with its relentless, restless, inexorable current. And while new faces do come up to replace those left behind, people can’t “replace” other people so easily.

Of those you leave behind, not all are easily forgotten. There are some whom you knew well, whom you never forget. There are some whom you knew only briefly, whom you can spend a lifetime wondering about. There are some whom you are separated from either by circumstances or by continents, whom you never meet any more and never – or almost-never – will.

And yet, they stay with you. Maybe through an occasional exchange of email, maybe through a once-a-year phonecall, maybe through nothing more than a treasured set of memories of all-too-little time spent together… they stay with you.

If I could choose between turning back the clock to the times I wish hadn’t passed so quickly or the people I wish hadn’t gone out of my life, I know which one I’d choose. If I could have back all the jobs, activities, and youth of years ago, I might be a busy and happy person; but if I could have back all the people I wish had never gone out of my life… I’d be immeasurably richer.

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