Let’s Go Back, Let’s Go Way Back

Entirely accidentally, I’ve spent a bunch of time recently revisiting media from a decade or so ago; it wasn’t something that I’d planned, or even actually noticed I was doing until after the fact, when I was talking about what I’d been watching and reading to various people and the idea came up, again and again: “Oh, you know that’s ten years ago now, right?”

What’s funny is that, thankfully, I didn’t have that moment of thinking, it feels like just yesterday that I think can sometimes happen with the passing of time; everything in the past three or so years feels especially like a jumble of potential moments that could be entirely interchangeable, especially. (Since the pandemic started, I don’t think I’m the only person to have a particularly skewed idea of time — there are things that, objectively, I know happened in a particular order, but it feels very much as if some happened last week and some happened years earlier, even though the order is entirely wrong.)

Instead, it was just the opposite: each of the things I’d been revisiting had happened almost because they felt far, far older than the reality turned out to be. Maybe this is because I have a significant life shift in between then and now — literally almost in the middle, if you consider that I split from Kate five years ago this fall — almost creating a very definitive THEN and NOW in my head. Because of the way my memory works, I can remember specific images and details about where I was when I was reading something, or watching something, and my memory almost instinctively goes, oh this happened at this point so it must be some time ago, and even ten years feels… almost too soon in some sense…?

And yet, a decade has indeed passed since these things I’m now going back to. It’s fun to see where my tastes have changed, what things I’m now kinder to, what things make less sense to me now. It’s a worthwhile exercise, if an accidental one, to revisit art and culture and use it as a mirror to remind yourself what’s happened to you. It’s nice to realize you can still change, even when you don’t think it’s happened.

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