Remnants Heard

by David King on January 30, 2013

In my time spent as an actual adult (which has really only been about a third of my life), my perspective on time has experienced a remarkable shift. Days are no longer only escapist opportunities for future wonderment and anticipation. While some distortion of this remains, days are also opportunities for deep reflection and reminiscence – the stuff born of more mature realities. The stuff that regrets are made of, if you have dared to digress.

I don’t know what to do with it all, really. After five big moves in five years, a lot of loss, and a few heartaches to wear on my sleeve, I feel surrounded by it. The residue is thick, and the remnants plentiful. I look around my place, and it’s right there, in everything I see. It’s in both new and old, both bought and borrowed, both fought for and stolen. It’s in the beginning, the middle, and even the end, should I let myself go there.

It’s hard not to go there.

A third of a lifetime isn’t much, but it’s everything nonetheless. Loss comes in many forms and hurt has a hundred faces, and so the world turns. New days are offered up like free Costco samples on a Sunday afternoon, and yet they’re limited. We know they’re limited.

And this is what I have realized. All the remnants and the regrets – we need them. We need them more than we need the wonder, for to ever truly grasp the dreams of our youth we have to know what to look for. Inside every memory, inside every piece of furniture and iPhone camera roll, there is something to be used. There is something to be gained.

My perspective on time has indeed experienced a shift. But it is not one of complete despair. Within the realities of adulthood – all the change and the heartache and the hurt – there is wisdom to be had. There are things to be learned, and new perspectives to be born. The biggest mistake of adulthood is the assumption that we know who we are just because we’ve gotten here. Science tells us that our neural pathways and synapses are capable of change across the lifespan. Our hearts tell us that we can do more and be better, if only to keep at it.

The triumph of the human spirit is not reserved solely for historical occasions. No, indeed it is capable of so much more, in this moment and every moment in between. Listen to the remnants of your past, and carry them forward not with regret but with reverence. They are you, plain and simple, stripped of all the expectations and impositions of adulthood. Learn from your past, wipe the residue clean, and rediscover your wonder.

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drei January 30, 2013 at 2:40 pm

I am JUST reading Nietzsche for my Historical Memory and Social Reconstruction class where he talks about the importance of having the capacity to live ‘unhistorically’ and that “tt is possible to live almost without remembering, indeed, to live happily, as the beast demonstrates; however, it is completely and utterly impossible to live at all without forgetting..” Sort of relevant, check it out if you’re not familiar:


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