you keep saying the past is not dead
well, stop and smell the smoke
you keep on saying the past is not even past
and you keep saying
we are smoke, smoke, smoke...
- "smoke," ben folds five
i've spent the last few days just steeped to the gills in blasts from my past, some welcome, some uncomfortable. i spent a few terrifying hours trying to keep drunk people from getting into worse states than they were already in, with varying degrees of success. (only a little blood was spilled. i consider that a win.) i went to the wedding of a dearly-beloved ex, finding people i hadn't seen in two-plus decades at the same event. and i had a mini-reunion of sorts with some wonderful college friends on a random night in the law-school town.
all this got me thinking about the past. i do that a lot. but really, it's funny. i've found that reconnecting with the people who knew me before i tied myself down and quashed my ambitions restores me and satisfies me in ways i never anticipated. but meeting up with the people who knew me in the middle of that, through no fault of their own, just remind me of how different i made myself in furtherance of a goal that really should never have been a goal in the first place. it's painful, and it's annoying.
so it's not that the past is dead, nor that it should be. i love my friends. but the past i'd like to revisit and reconnect with is the past in which i was truer to myself, before i stopped caring about myself, before i did what others wanted. as for the other past, when i was someone other than myself? yeah. that's smoke.