Just a reminder: This blog will mainly be my thoughts about aspects of aging. One of these is how to think about one’s past, in this case in the concrete form of writings.

A few days ago, someone asked if I had any letters from her where she mentions her college boyfriend. I had to look through folders and folders of old writings where her letters might have been hiding.  Alas, I found only one and not the kind she was looking for. But as I read my writings over with a mind toward getting rid of stuff, the question that kept coming up is how much do I still identify with the Ellen of those years? What relevance, if any, does she have for me now? 

The truth is I don’t identify with her anymore. Is that a function of age? Is it simply because I’ve changed so much? Is it because there’s too much pain in looking back? It’s probably a combination of all three.

The memories will not die if I toss the writing, and most of the words I wrote in the past feel like a weight I’m dragging, and this stage of my life seems to be a lot about unburdening. I have enough existential physical restrictions: I need to sense as much freedom as possible.  The writings seem like a detour on the way to that freedom. Events in my past appeared like reflections of the moon on a frozen lake.  Nice, but now the ice has melted and the vista is completely different. Nothing looks the same. Better now to find my way along the paths that are taking me through new, wide-open fields.





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