This weekend is Memorial Day Weekend. Many people go camping during this time. Others take trips or go wine tasting. Some stay home and garden. Many people try to honor Memorial Day the way it was set up for in the beginning. They don’t throw huge parades with veterans and soldiers like they do in Ukraine on any of their holidays, but they do visit the cemeteries and put flowers on their lost ones’ graves. My mom visited my big sister’s grave today. I never met Tami, but she would have been my oldest sister if she hadn’t been still born. My mom sent this picture to my siblings and I today.
Then she sent me a text to let me know that she wasn’t being sad or depressed at the cemetery but thankful for the blessings she has in her life. This is the key, I think. Rather than dwelling on our pasts, we must look to the future and work to find happiness.
When we do focus on the past, we never improve. We live in a state of nothingness, always waiting but never enjoying life as it comes. This was Jay Gatsby’s biggest flaw in The Great Gatsby. He wanted to relive his happy days with Daisy, the woman he loved. He didn’t realize that time had changed her, just as time should. He was pretty foolish for this.
A friend I have on Twitter wrote this today: “If you judge a person by their past, there is no way in hell you will ever have a future with them. That’s just how it works.” I favorited this tweet because it makes sense to me. Though our pasts have made us who we are, who we were in the past is not who we are today.
In the movie Bright Star, John Keats’ character says, “The point of diving into a lake is not to immediately to swim to the shore but to be in the lake to luxuriate in the sensation of water. You do not work the lake out. It is an experience beyond thought.” Keats is talking about poetry and understanding poetry, but I think he’s really talking about life. To live well, you must live. Sometimes things happen and we don’t achieve what we want when we want it, but at least we lived.
In general, I believe that we’re selfish with the people we love. We want them to stay with us forever and even though we know, “they’ll always remain in our memory,” the truth is, we know we’ll forget. We know that one day we’ll wake up to go for a run or get something in the grocery store and we’ll see something that triggers a memory of that person and we’ll realize that we’ve moved forward in life without him or her. It’s terrifying, but it’s human.
I’m not always sure that I’m living for today. Many times in my life, I feel like I wait for the next thing. I’ve tried to rectify this situation. I try to do the things that make me happy. That’s why I’ve continued “the search” for that job that will make me really joyous. And that’s why I write, every day. Life isn’t supposed to be “figured out,” it’s supposed to be lived.