Since at least the early 1990s, I have been engaging in the behavior of time travel.
No, not the kind where you get into a machine and use science-based magic to physically go to a specific time in the past. There was no Delorean, and I never got up to 88 mph.
WHAT IS “TIME TRAVEL?”
For the purposes of this entry, “time travel” is something where I will look up someone from the past. When I find them, I will pick up where we left off, no matter how long ago it was. This also covers traveling to an old place, like a home where I had once lived, to see what it looks like now.
DIFFERENT KINDS OF TIME TRAVEL
When the average person time travels, they will typically utilize some type of media. This includes books, music, and movies. Some may be able to achieve this using more modern media, such as Facebook or other social networking platforms.
This engages the mind and achieves what I consider to be “personal time travel.” The more popular term for this is “nostalgia.”
When I travel to a place where something once happened, it fits within the construct of nostalgia. However, when I time travel to get to/with someone from the past, it’s a completely different story.
The former is somewhat normal. However, the latter fails miserably in that it requires the other person to be on the same page as me. What I have learned is that this is NOT the case 100% of the time.
For me, it goes way beyond the idea of nostalgia, and enters the realm of actually wanting to relive the past.
RISKS AND REWARDS
For the type of time travel that I have been doing in the past, the rewards are often times relatively small, especially given the time and effort that I would put into it all.
The rewards can be good at times, although they typically start out high-power and then devolve into something negative and ugly. I had written a while back about how I finally got the girl, and how that went down.
That is probably the best-case, so far as time travel goes. It started out really, really good. It was the kind of thing where I thought that things were finally going to be fine. But then, I suppose one might call it “reality” setting in, and things start to go south.
I went through this experience with “the girl” long ago. More recently, I went through almost exact the same thing with her aunt from late 2019 to the fall of 2020. It started out great, or so I thought, but it quickly devolved into chaos. In this case, it was so bad that my once-cherished memories are now so ugly that I am actively working to forget them.
Another risk, which applies mainly to people my age, is that the person I am looking for might be dead. There was one old friend from college whom I was seeking out and couldn’t find. I later found a mutual friend, who informed me that she had died almost 10 years ago.
Best case, the risk is that it ends up destroying a cherished memory. Worst case, it can pose a threat to your life.
FIGURING OUT BOUNDARIES
It has been almost one year to the day since she walked out and never came back. The whole experience destroyed my confidence and breathed life into my depression, as well as my doubts about myself.
A great deal of work was required to get back up from there to where I am now. During that time, I’ve had a great deal of moments where I wondered what I did wrong.
The only conclusion I could derive was that my biggest mistake was time traveling. Digging up the past and attempting to bring it into the future.
SETTING THOSE BOUNDARIES
After giving it much thought, I came to a few conclusions, based on my latest experience in late 2019 with “the aunt.”
I also came up with three important boundaries with regard to time travel.
The first boundary involves a promise to myself to stop digging into the past. I have some decent memories from that time, and I think it is best that I leave them alone.
This means that I won’t be looking for anyone I remember from a time long gone by.
To be clear, this DOES NOT impact those from my past who are in contact with me currently. I write on occasion with a scant few friends from the really, truly OLD days. That’s fine. And if I thought of them and wrote to them a year later, that’s cool. Same if they write to me.
The idea in this is to stop seeking out new connections to the past.
The second boundary is to stop thinking about my personal past. This does not impact old music or movies. Thinking about a date that went well in 1982 doesn’t really serve me well on any level.
The third and final boundary is all about how deep I am willing to go into the past.
After the break-up with “the aunt,” whom I had dated in 1982, I found another old girlfriend from roughly the exact same year. That experience was different because both of us had healthy boundaries in mind as we initiated contact.
My interest in boundaries for this situation were heavily influenced by the negative consequences of my experience with “the aunt.”
It really was how I should have handled things with “the aunt” in the first place.
- Make contact
- Hello, how are you
- Catch up on the latest
- Revisit the past briefly
- Email once in a great while
Those are really the proper steps to take for healthy boundaries in this situation.
IN THE END
Time travel to the past can be pleasant or traumatic. It can be positive or negative. It can be insightful or a major waste of time.
Pink Floyd warned us about many things in life. One major theme that runs through most of their material involves the idea that time flows by like a river. Thematically, their lyrics suggest that aging and dying are things that are racing at a high velocity straight toward us.
With that, I end this with a song of theirs that explains how you can try all you want, but you can never truly go back. In a way, it feels rather sad that we can never go back to those magical moments in life. But I have to wonder precisely WHY I want to go back to revisit those moments so badly.
It could be that I have no opportunities for NEW magical moments in my life. Even worse, it could be the case that life is no longer magical because I have too much experience with it.
The only thing I know for certain is that I cannot catch new magical moments with my hands if they are filled up with magical moments from the past. The water that once flowed through my fingers is no more, and the waters ahead are full of unfathomable mystery, pain, suffering, and possibly more magical moments.
The endless river. Forever and ever.
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