Life of Sisyphus – Part Nine

So one begins to get old, she thinks, when we are given to remembering the past. The past is a dangerous thing when we let it stead the prominence of our lives. It is always present, determining our actions, like the sun keeps the planets incarcerated in its gravitational prison. Even the comets, incapable of strong attraction, pass by every few years to see how everything is going here. Making ourselves comfortable in the past is a dangerous thing, if you don’t have the strength, you end up always repeating the same things. And from there to death by boredom is a small step.

Since her teens she had watched with curiosity this longing for the past, often in reaction to the new. In high school her friends talked about how great junior high had been, in the university they wanted to return to high school and her co-workers talked about how wonderful their time in school had been. It’s odd to see a reunion of old schoolmates, how different they are, the ones who have moved forward and the ones stuck in the past. Those who hold on to the jargon and the cliques and those who have decided to overcome everything. Another very common idea is the possibility of stepping back in time and changing our actions in certain past events. How many regrets we carry on our shoulders, pushing us to the ground with the insupportable weight of the past. And how many illusions about rearranging our lives wait under the cold side of the pillow, filling our dreams and our nightmares.

She, on the contrary, has lived spurred on by the urgency to move forward, advance quickly, without too much looking back. She doesn’t long for things in the past. She doesn’t visit the schools where she studied, she doesn’t go to the alumni reunions or take part in conversations of reminiscing. She knows that people change, that by the forties one has lived another life, since you parted as a group of students in your twenties. In those years they were traveling like drops of water from a hose, carried from one place to another. Once past the nozzle they began to disperse, and each drop followed its own trajectory, separate from the rest. She thinks this is the difference that gives meaning to life. One of the her few memories of being a student is an exchange with the philosophy teacher. Answering a question, she very confidently said that movement implied development. And he asked her, speaking slowly, “And circular movement, does it imply development?” It was a revelation. She understood that it doesn’t matter how fast you move, if in the end you return to the same place. You must control the trajectory. Movement without change is an illusion, a deception.

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