It is not completely objectionable to say that human beings have always loved to be certain of what they do. We love planning ahead, having a vague idea of what tomorrow may look like. To have control, or some semblance of it. So much so, that when a day goes rogue, fear and annoyance is inevitable.
Take even this Pandemic. The first words we used to describe it were all reflections of the crisis of being unable to predict the next day- uncertain, unprecedented, unknown. Even our obsession with the idea of time travel is the baby of our inability to deal with what is unknown to us.
And that’s why we choose to run. To stop living in the moment, because the moment is not being kind. We run away to a place where everything is predictable, where we know exactly what happens because it has already happened. We run back to the memories of our past- old music, old diary entries, old films. Forming little cocoons in bed, we scroll through old photos in our gallery.
I have always ran to the past. Increasingly during this Pandemic. I have nothing to look forward to, so I keep going back, keep trying to make sense of the people puzzles that I could not make sense of back then, the people puzzles that I had to leave behind because it was too painful to watch the pieces stop fitting in. Eventually, the puzzle itself would change, but I would find myself leaving each one incomplete in some way.
It is hard to find joy in past memories because of these unsolved people puzzles that keep popping up, like ads in a game. You’re forced to watch them for a minimum of the slowest 10 seconds of your life before you can quickly cancel it and get back to playing.
Sometimes, I decide to roll up my sleeves and begin trying to solve this hurtful people puzzle again. I put myself back in, reminding myself that I am not the same weakling I was. Confident in my 20-year-old self, I go back to help the 16-year-old me. I quickly pop out the questions that rose out of heart break and had left me stumped.
They respond, and the answer burns the same way it did at 16. Only this time, I am armed with the medicine of time. I can bury this wound under the band aid of the years that have passed. The puzzle still remains incomplete.
The puzzles of the past cannot change. That is after all, why we love them despite the pain. Sometimes we forget this and run back to solve them individually, without realizing that some wounds are necessary, and that all these incomplete puzzles have actually come together in perfect sense, just to complete the person that is you today.
The truth, you realize further down the line, was that the puzzles were all always complete, that you just had to view them from further away, with more faith in yourself.