2013 Grateful 13

I ran into an old friend last week. We haven’t been in touch in years. And although we were definitely in the same place at the same time doing pretty much the same things all those years ago, it’s amazing how our recollections of the same events differ. Our memories are weighted by relativity and perhaps coloured by the lives we’ve lived in the intervening years. What each of us chooses to file in our memory bank is subjective. Just as witness statements given by those present at the same event seldom match perfectly, recollections of times past also differ. History is constantly being rewritten and reinterpreted through a prism of individual hopes, dreams, and aspirations.

parallel livesIt’s not an age thing: I’ve always had trouble remembering events involving people. When de wimmen came to visit me in Alaska, they met my Alaskan friends who eagerly recounted some of the stories I’d told them, asking whether or not they were true. De wimmen contradicted me on details – and with regard to one particular event (that I can’t remember) told me point blank that I hadn’t even been there!

Now if you were to refer to GATT as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade on page 2 and again on page 2222 as the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs, I’d spot that. Or if you told me once that you were 16 when you left school and later upped it to 17, I could call you on it. Or if the chronology of some story contradicted known facts, I’d be asking questions. But when it comes to life events, I have a difficult time distinguishing truth from fiction. Perhaps it’s a self-preservation mechanism . Perhaps it’s laziness. Perhaps it doesn’t matter at all. I’ve learned not to blush in embarrassment and just to fess up to the fact that I simply don’t remember. It’s safer than pretending I do. And while I might not be able to share in a collective memory, there’s enough remnants floating in my netherworld to allow me appreciate reliving it. I get to enjoy the experience all over again.

I didn’t don my inquisitor’s hat and ask the usual list of 20 questions, fired in rapid succession and guaranteed to ensure that it would be another eon before we met again. It was as if it had been months, not years;  the conversation didn’t require explicit questions as answers came without them being asked. What has taken me aback though, is not the ease with which old friendships can be resumed, but rather that in the intervening years this old friend has been living my life, or rather the life that I’ve been imagining for me.

IMG_4447 (800x600)I’ve mentioned many times that I want to live by the sea. I want to smell sea air and go to sleep each night with the sound of waves pounding against the shore. I want to wake up to the sound of seagulls and be able to walk deserted beaches in wintry weather. I want to experience that sense of fragility afforded by calm waters and the fierceness offered by angry seas.

I have writtIMG_3372 (800x592)en, too, about my lifelong dream of owning a racehorse or three. I want to feel that sense of accomplishment that only comes when you see someone (in this case, the horse) grow into their own and achieve great things, even if for them, that great thing is finishing fourth. I want to have a vested interest in their progress and feel that sense of pride when they cross the winning line. And I want to enjoy the excitement of being part of it all.

Remember that opening scene from the movie the Commitments? Where Jimmy Rabbitte is in the bath pretending he’s being interviewed by Terry Wogan? Well, I’ve had similar (albeit non-bathtub) experiences when I imagine myself being interviewed about my latest bestseller. But for that to happen, I’d have to start writing it. Such is life.

Lest you think otherwise, I’m not sitting here overwhelmed by envy or riddled with jealousy that they’ve gotten to do/are doing the top three things on my bucket list. On the contrary. At the end of what has been an interesting week on many fronts, I’m grateful for the regular reminders I receive that life is there for living. It is short, fragile, and all too often wasted on what ifs. I’m especially grateful for the wake-up call reflected in this chance encounter and silently wonder about Nos 4, 5, and 6 on my list.

Note: For a reminder of what the Grateful series is about, check out the post Grateful 52

 

 

 

Share :

Share on twitter
Share on telegram
Share on whatsapp

Subscribe to get notified when I publish something new.

  • Explore

    • Book reviews (36)
    • Catriona Loughrey (1)
    • Cemeteries (35)
    • Hungary (116)
    • Ireland (86)
    • Markets (23)
    • Uncategorised (37)
    • Village life (88)
  • Talk to me...

    %d bloggers like this:

    By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information on cookies and GDPR

    Cookies and GDPR Compliance

    The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

    General Data Protection Regulation

    If you have voluntarily submitted your email address so that you can receive notifications of new posts, please be assured that I don't use your address for anything other than to do just that - and that's done automatically. I might use your address, if I knew how to, but I don't.

    This blog does not make money, it does not carry sponsored content, it has no ads for which I receive any form of payment. If I review a place or a restaurant or a book, I don't receive any compensation from anyone. I wish I did, but that would require marketing myself and life is too short. If something changes, I will be sure to let you know.

    You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the unsubscribe or manage subscription links at the bottom of every email you receive. When you comment on a blog post, Google Analytics tracks where you're posting from. This is stored and I can check my stats to see how many clicks I had today, where people clicked from, and what they clicked on. That's it. Nothing more.

    I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, particularly to other commenters. If you want to have one of your comments deleted, the please get in touch with me at: mary@irjjol.com. I'm all for the right to be forgotten so will happily oblige.

    So, in a nutshell, if you give me your email address voluntarily to subscribe to new posts or if you opt to subscribe to new comments, then you email is just used for this. Nothing else. Promise.

    Close