Have you ever had a lovely night out with friends? I’m sure you have. You go to the right restaurant, the right bar, or the right cafe. You’re with the right people, making the right conversation that removes you from any thoughts of negativity or burden. You may even learn a thing or two about a subject you weren’t sure interested you but, turns out it does! The weather is perfect, so you don’t worry too much about walking home, slightly drunk or full from cake. When you get home, you are refreshed but tired, and you can’t wait to sit in your favorite chair and think about everything that just transpired.
And you think to yourself, “what a lovely night indeed! I’m ever so happy I went out.”
…doesn’t the voice inside your head sound like Mary Poppins too?
When you think about how wonderful your night was, you may want to relive it all over again and relish in the amazing talk, drink, and weather. But, knowing you can’t relive a day, you do everything to repeat that same feeling you had. You gather with the same group of people, have the same food, and discuss the same type of existential topics or off-kilter jokes.
How upset are you when it doesn’t click again? The magic is entirely absent. This time, the wine is too bitter and gives you heartburn. The talks you and your friends have are constantly interrupted by the obnoxious laughter at the table next to you and for some horrible reason, the cafe is playing Katy Perry. The temperature isn’t bad, but it’s drizzling just enough that it kind of feels like you’re being peed on very slowly. You come home, moist and unfulfilled.
You guess that kind of wonderful moment can only happen every so often.
Humans are the most fascinating animal. Stephen Fry spent a period of time tracking endangered animals around the world to learn as much as possible about the potential conservation and aid we can provide for these little fluffy beasts. He went on the Graham Norton show to talk about how wonderful animals are. Y’know why they’re amazing? Because they’re not self-aware. They are simply in the moment.
As someone who suffers from monstrous (and i mean monstrous) anxiety, I cannot fathom the idea of living in the moment. When I go out and have a lovely evening, I assume it’s a fluke rather than a norm. I am (at this exact moment in time) that person who believes magical nights are fleeting, and an attempt to recreate such a moment will only end in disappointment.
I’ll ask it, since you’re thinking it: What the fuck is wrong with me? Or, is this the human reaction?
We are very keen on repeating moments in time. How often do you hear someone say “I’d love to go back and do this”?
I have friends who live like they’re still in college (or, for those who I know who are still in college, this is more an age gap. Meaning, they still live like they’re 19/20/21.) They have jobs and such, but mentally, they still wish they were living on campus and going to college parties every night. I have mostly lost touch with these people anyway, but every now and then I’ll see them at a get together or just by chance on the street.
I’m working very hard on “the moment”, while still creating plans and goals for the future. But, I need to stop looking to the past for those wonderful moments. Instead, I can create them myself. I have constants in life that make me happy: certain people, certain activities, certain feelings. And instead of trying to piece them together like they were before, I just need to grab one at a time and appreciate them for what they are; pieces of enjoyment and fulfillment in this instance, in this moment.
I can still have those bursts of magic. But it’s magic in the present, and it always will be magic in the present.