Looking forward


It has been seven years since I moved to Portugal from South Africa.  And it has been just about seven days since I have returned from a brief family holiday in South Africa.  And so, there is this inevitable moment of reflection, of looking back…  It always arrives at some point during a visit home: I am in my old bedroom (it hasn’t been mine anymore for decades, of course!) and it is a Sunday (Sundays are nostalgic days for me, something about drawn-out afternoons, and childhood memories of being encouraged to nap but wandering and daydreaming instead) and I start to go through my boxes of old letters, mementos, cards, etc.  This is more than a “trip down memory lane” – it is an intimate archaeological process as I unearth stories (co-written by my significant others) of myself once again.  (I even excavated an old bar of chocolate that a friend gave me about ten years ago!  This is also a way of learning to let go.)  And there are tears and wistful smiles, outward traces of a stirring of deep wordless feelings written in hieroglyphics.  And sometimes, an insight, a tentative realization.  This time I thought:  the past is (in the) details.  And while it is good (even though often hard) to look back, to appreciate the value of what I’ve lived, right now I am looking forward.


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