Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time with my mind in the past, reliving experiences so I can write about them as though they are fresh and happening now. It’s been intense to say the least and I’ve cried so much at times that my eyes have hurt and I’ve sobbed so loudly that you’d think I was at a funeral of a loved one because I’ve been reliving all of that.
I don’t normally spend this much time going over the past, certainly not the past that was ten years ago, because so much life has happened since then and I can’t change what happened. I can change how I feel about it, I can change how I am perceiving it, and I can absolutely look for the lessons and gifts in it all because I have distance from those moments and experiences.
In the process of jogging my memory I have brought out old journals, and finally synced the photos and documents from my old laptop from the very early 2010s. The strangest thing started to happen from there with timelines and timing.
I’ve never really felt time is linear. I’ve also experienced that self growth is also not linear, it doesn’t follow a nice neat sequence. Instead, it twists and turns and moments circle back around until the underlying message, the theme, the knowing and understanding can be integrated. It’s almost like these experiences arise just so a depth can be felt or explored, and I’m one who likes to get fully into what I’m doing, so I usually go all in.
With the syncing of my old past experiences from more than ten years ago into my present day created a weird fuzziness around time. My family keeps me anchored in the present time because two small children are high energy and need presence. However, in the wee hours of the morning when they’re asleep or after everyone has gone to bed, I’ve been diving back in. It feels a bit like dreamwork, where I would practice lucid dreaming and intentionally go into my dreams and direct them in a half awake sleep, or when I kept a journal by my bed just to record my dreams when I first woke up so I could analyse what my subconscious was trying to tell me. It’s a fun process, something I don’t seem to have the luxury of time to do in my current stage of life. However, writing and going back over the past has kind of been that in a way. I’d dive into a scene of my life when I was in my late 20s in Brazil and hear the sounds of Sao Paolo. I would jump into the scene of road tripping through the South of the US and feeling the thick air and tasting the salty boiled peanuts. I’d revisit when I first landed in Australia and I felt the light was so bright I had to squint at first. Then I would come back into the room I’m sitting in here in my current house in 2020. It’s been a fun adventure.
Anyway so in my mixing of time, I saw it reflected in my real life too. My synced pictures from my old laptop meshed with my new laptop in a way that all pictures taken on the 23rd of May were lumped together, it was in chronological order, and I’d be presented with a photo from all of these very different life stages all together, like my own personal time hop in real life.
It got me thinking that the way time bends, the way that memories live in our hearts because of the emotions that are felt when they are happening, or the emotions that are attached to them after the fact. That it’s the emotional index of these experiences that allow me to fully immerse back into them. I can be prompted by reading my writing, or watching a vlog from over a decade ago, but the part of the imagination that is mine to use is right here available for me anytime.
Separately but related, I had a childhood friend recently send me a message apologising for being a dick. I don’t remember him that way, but he must have felt that. I know I hard a hard upbringing, and it wasn’t easier socially at school when I was growing up, but it was easier when I focused on my classwork and turned my attention to what I could control and achieve. I’ve apologised to people I’ve known in the past the same way that he has, and most times they’ve just said it was no big deal, or that they didn’t remember but for me, it was a big deal because I was out of alignment of my integrity, out of character for me and who I am now that I felt embarrassed I had been lacking compassion, or acted like I did when I was a teenager and trying to figure out the world.
I’ve had to give a lot of compassion for my former younger selves, the iterations of Jennifer that were growing and learning and didn’t know any better. It’s been a process going back over the past and looking through the lens of who I am now, versus who I was then, even though it’s all me. Perhaps this is something that comes with age, I’m not sure, but it’s kind of fun in weird way.
When I updated my operating system my laptop photos were back to normal, it was just a temporary glitch in the matrix, and I appreciate that reminder that time is really what we make it. I can expand it, I can collate it, I can use it to my advantage. I can jump into old timelines, and jump into new ones, or I can hang out in this current one, it’s all a matter of choice.