Saturday, December 17, 2016

Connecting with the Past

Originally posted on FB in response to a posting of (link):

Sorry!!!! This came out as a super long rant because I feel extremely strongly about certain things. I know this is totally unsolicited and I don't mean any of this as a reply to your post, but I just had to write my feelings about the past.

As someone who values availability and dependability but also as someone who NEEDS to live with a constant connection to the past, I have mixed feelings about these tips. I do think that it's important to realize that if you are not actively being cared about and cared for then no amount of "false availability" should illusion you to believe otherwise. We have many tools available to us which help us connect with the people with whom we have genuine relationships. However those same tools also sometimes promise that we can connect with those who will =not= provide us with their love, care, time, and connection. They cannot. I think it is important to make this distinction, and doing so will allow you to realize who and what really matters in your life, and refocus to avoid cognitive dissonance.

At the same time, the past is vital to my human experience (especially as an ISFJ and Si-dominant), and I think it is also important to understand how to live in connection with it. Just because something is not a part of your life anymore does not mean that it is not still important to you in the present. After all, the most precious possession I own is the boxes of letters that my friends have written to me over the years. Even things that hurt you or scarred you can still have important meaning and value, and it would be a disservice to yourself to let go of them. There are many memories and friendships that I had in the past that I could not carry forward to this moment in time. Thinking of these things often makes me sad, but to let go of them would be letting go of a part of myself. I really believe that not everything should or even can be brought to closure. There are some things that you should learn how to live with.

It's really funny that this set of tips mentions going through your phone contacts and purging the ones that you don't stay in connection with, because I have a different ritual that I do for myself. Every once in a while, I would go through my list of phone contacts and call the ones that I didn't stay in connection with, even though I wish I could. Because I still care about those people and want to hear their voice. Even if they are not the same people whom I was once friends with, connecting with them is, in a way, connecting with my past. Even if they do not answer, leaving them a message is still "talking to them", in a way. I have another habit where sometimes when I am feeling troubled and lost, I will read through the letters from my boxes (or old blog entries). Remembering the past helps to ground me and comfort me in times when I can't seem to find my way. I do the same thing with my voicemails as well. It is an incredible feeling to be able to hear the voice of a precious friend whom I can no longer reach, but who was always an important part of my life. Even when I cannot physically talk to or hear the people from my past, I still have my own "mental sanctuary" where I sometmies meet with them. To say nothing of the Christmas letters that I write every year.

I have a friend who I write to every year for Christmas and her birthday, and she has written to me too, every year, including this year. I no longer see or talk to this person, nor do I even chat with this person online or even know how they are doing right now. But the fact that she still keeps this tradition alive is extremely meaningful to me. I wish that more people could be like this.

I said in the beginning that it's important to understand what is important vs not important in your life. I think that extends to your past too. There are countless things about your past that are extremely worthless and not worth remembering at all. I don't save all of my receipts from stores because they don't bring any meaning to me whatsoever. However, there are other things that may be really special and meaningful to you. ***BUT they can only be important to you if you spend time connecting to them.*** This is why digital photos are so much harder to be meaningful than old photo prints. It is because digital photos get thrown into a huge archive which would rarely ever get looked at. But with physical prints, you are already forced to look over them once after they are developed. And it is much easier to flip through a 20-page photo book than a 2000-photo folder. They are much easier to treasure. This is why it's important to make sure that you decide what from your past is important and what is not. So that you can spend time cherishing the things that are important, and not let all of those other things get in the way.

If nothing else, perhaps a short story will speak my emotions for me, about rememberences for the past:

Also...please never burn letters. -_-;

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