What memory is like, but in words…

*I recently re-visited a place abroad where I lived and worked for a while when I was YOUNG in my early twenties. (See here for pre-trip thoughts). Initial highbrow philosophical thoughts below. Comedy observations more likely to follow at a later date….

greece sunset and other idiots
Blue remembered hills

The past. It’s a road best travelled alone, I’ve found. The experiences of our lives; the places we find ourselves, the places we leave ourselves – they are all just that: Places.

And places endure. They change. Sometimes in the subtle, everyday sweep of the years, other times in giant jumps, leaps of memory, so that looking at a once familiar view, unseen for years, is like staring at a puzzle where the pieces are the same, just jumbled up all wrong. (I am Jack’s overdeveloped sense of ridiculous outrage that the trees are twenty feet taller than I remember, etc.)

Places can be shared. New people inhabit them, old people visit them, and life goes on. But the past – well. That’s something which only lives in you. And long may that continue. Because what I realised recently is that all the fond memories, all the remembered joys were made not because of the place. But because of the people – the person I was, the people I shared a place with; the people I love, and have loved.

It can bring you up short. Who WAS I then? And who am I now? Am I the same?

My circumstances are much changed – I’m older, wiser?, surer of many things, but coming face to face with your old (young?) self makes you question why that is the case. Perhaps I know more now than I did then. Maybe I’m happier. Did I ever imagine this older me looking back at my idiot, younger self to be this person I find myself to be? No way. I couldn’t have done. Caught up in the arrogance of youth, you don’t look forward, or only for a matter of weeks, months, years. I suppose the same is true of now, and when I’m eighty, thanks to the enduring power of the internet I will be looking back on these thoughts and kicking my slightly less young idiot self too. And so it goes.

The sentiment I have for the place I visited remains exactly the same as it was when I last left there all those years ago. I was stunned by the beauty, by the otherness of the mountains, the beat of the heat, the noise and stillness of the sky. I wanted to run across the ocean, to taste how blue it was.

The raw shock of youth is gone now – all the things I have seen! – but the echo of that sentiment in itself serves to remind me how lucky lucky lucky I am. A life less ordinary, that’s what I wanted years ago.  I had my adventure. Returned to ‘normal’ life. And carried a place around in the private places of my heart for years, for the wrong reasons.

Because the place is just the place is just the place. The life I had there was what mattered, and that stays with you wherever you go, however long after.


If you likey like my idiotic ramblings, why not join my sinister cult on Facebook, so you’ll get notified every time there’s a new post. Cult membership this way.

Dicking about on Twitter here

Pictures of my breakfast on Instagram here.


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