Preserving Time


Fine, fine, I admit it. I liked the Spice Girls for about five minutes, back in the ‘90s… or 20 years ago, as the annoying news lady decided to inform me the other day. That couldn’t be true… could it? But as I rushed from the kitchen to stare incredulously at the TV (as though that was going to change anything), I quickly did the math and horror of horrors, the lady was right.

Snippets of old videos followed on the screen and flashes of old memories ran through my mind. It’s been 20 years since my friends and I used to jump up and down in front of the TV, dancing to the Wannabe video, choosing our favourite Spice Girl and believing that “girl power” was a given. When the perky blonde came back on the screen, about to move on to some more depressing news, I made a face at her; in fact, I’m pretty sure I stuck my tongue out at her, a gesture strictly reserved for the most obnoxious drivers. But the perky blonde was not done with me, as her next piece of news involved a grey haired Jon Bon Jovi singing at a wedding, looking a lot older than a few years ago, when I saw him live in a concert. That’s what you get on a slow news day… although, ironically enough, lots of important things were going on in the world at the time. But clearly not important enough to push aside trivia reminding me that it’s been twenty years since then. In the ’90s sounds so much better than 20 years ago.

“You know, I told somebody you were 24 the other day.”

Ha? I paused, not knowing what one replies to that. Somebody had asked her how old her daughter was and apparently “24” was the right number for my mother.

“I see you’re not sticking with 28,” I finally recovered my voice.

She stopped counting at 28… not 29, not 30, but 28. I never lied about my age, but apparently my mother feels the need to, for several years now. I will try and preserve a little bit of mystery and won’t say for how many years I’ve been turning 28 according to her… suffice to say that she knows my age, yet she will not admit it to anyone, sometimes not even to me. And apparently, starting this year, I’m 24 again.

I can’t come up with a good reason why she chose that particular age, other than the fact that if I’m 24, she’s still in her 40s. In a way, it does make sense. She liked herself a lot more back then, so many things still seemed possible for her. I can understand why she would want to go back to those days, to somehow relive certain moments, so she could both have the chance to feel that happiness and make different decisions, take a different path. I know she chooses to often forget her own age and certain aspects of today’s reality, succumbing to the mirage of better days. Once in a while we all do that. Once in a while, when she doesn’t exaggerate, I understand her… after all, I’d rather say “in the ‘90s” than “20 years ago”… But I dread the moment she remembers how much she loved who she was in her 30s. If she keeps this up, I can see the day when I reach for my gin & tonic and she smacks my hand – soon enough, I won’t be of legal drinking age anymore.

Preserving time seems to be an obsession for all of us, trying to bottle up certain moments so we could repeatedly savour them at a later moment is not at all uncommon. Everybody has their own way of saving those instances for later use and their own reasons for occasionally sinking deep into those memories. For instance, aside from a plethora of photos, old notebooks and a variety of other things, I also have a couple of old dresses from back when I was about 18. I fear time, just like everybody else, so trying them on when I am really sad somehow makes me feel better, because I can still fit in them, and it also makes me laugh, because of how ridiculous I look. But what I don’t do when I’m sad is sink into happy moments and memories from the past, that’s just a recipe for depression. What can I say, we each fight time and preserve our sanity, our own way.

I’m not delusional about my past, I remember the bad at least as well as I remember the good. That’s why I think it might be about more than preserving time, it might actually be about preserving that person I was at a given moment – I may not have always liked my life, but I generally liked myself. That’s why the present can’t be overlooked and forgotten while we sink too deeply into the past – we need to set something aside for the future too. On that note, I think I’ll go and pour myself a glass of wine (while I still can) to go with my ice-cream and enjoy a nice summer evening, here and now… because who knows what’s to follow. Cheers! 🙂

In response to WordPress Weekly Discover Challenge – For Posterity.

18 Replies to “Preserving Time”

  1. Young, old, aging… hah, in my perspective when we put measure in something or even count, we get old. Have fun and you’ll always be a kid. The only difference between those is maturity, where we are aware and alert to our own reflexes while life throws us every lemon. 80s forevahhh.

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  2. Hi Ana – well this was a nice read – and 24 Huh!’ Well it is hard to believe the 90s were 20 years ago – and for me – I was shocked because we were talking about memories from 1988- and in two years that will be 30 years! 30! And so you are right – I much prefer saying the 80s – or the 90s…..

    And for me – I don’t mind getting older – but have to pinch myself sometime when I think it cannot be 2016! Like really?

    Also – the biggest gap I feel is from 2001 – my spouse and I made big (pivotal) life decisions and it was also 911 – and sometimes it feels like one year ago – or like yesterday! That is a hard gap for me to process – 15 years????

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    1. Wow… I remember being unable to look away fr0m the TV on 9.11… I kept thinking, somebody had to say none of that was true, that’s how unbelievable those horrific moments felt to me, living in a different part of the world. All of that feels recent. Yet it feels like a lifetime ago as well, not long after that I moved away and started a completely new and different stage of my life, so I just can’t picture myself in that place anymore. The duality of time can be so tricky sometimes…
      Anyway, I’m sticking with the ’80s and ’90s, 30 or 20 years ago just doesn’t have as nice a ring to it 😉 . If others want to do the math, that’s their problem 🙂 .

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      1. I agree – let them do the math – and by the way – I keep seeing John Bon Jovi in more ads – we watched a jason bourne movie over the weekend and I guess there are many ads he has made – and they are all about turning back time – because I guess the DVR service he is promoting is reminding folks they can “turn back time” =- and I think there were like 8 commercials during our movie – might be an exaggeration – but what a fun idea – and he still has the gray hair – ha! and one more side note – he sure has aged gracefully…..

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  3. Wow, this was such an interesting and thought-provoking post! It was an eye-opener to hear that a desire to preserve a time could actually be a desire to preserve the person we were at that time. It’s kind of sad that we don’t always love and embrace the person we are now and that we have a desire to hold on to our past selves though, especially because we are stuck making the most out of being the person we are now.
    Ack I can’t believe that the 90’s is now 20 years ago. That’s so mind-boggling!

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    1. So I’m not the only one taken by surprise of the ’90s having been 20 years ago 🙂 .
      Personally, I choose to believe we can be fond of more than one version of ourselves, the same way we can care about more persons at once. But you’re right, sometimes we hold on to the past so tightly, that we’ve got no more strength left to appreciate and improve our present self.

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    1. Thank you, Sue. They had already started to rehabilitate that building and it was nice to know they weren’t tearing it down. But even as it was, it could make you stop and wonder…

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