I'm not sure that I get this idea from Madeleine in
the way that she means it, but I certainly do get
it. I've felt this often in my life--a strong
connection to the kid that I was at age eight, to the teen
I was in high school, to the young adult that I was in
college and when I was in the Army. The connection
that I feel to those other people that I've been is
inexplicable, as if they're completely different people
than me, even though it was I passing through those ages
of my life.
Some people try to deny their past, or at least forget it,
as they age. And to a certain extent, there's value
in staying focused on the today in which we're living
right now, and not dwelling on the past that's gone for
good. But on the other hand, I think that in our
past experiences--the past ages that we've lived
through--there are innumerable riches that can be quite
beneficial to us if we allow them to be. After all,
much of who I am now is a result of who I was then, and
which decisions I made at different points in my life.
The people who we are today are less a result of include
the people we have been. I have been a six-year-old,
so I know the joy of running through the sprinkler on a
hot summer day. I've been a 14-year-old, so I know
the joy and the agony of crushes and infatuations.
I've been a 30-year-old, so I know the satisfaction of a
job well done and the expectation and adventure of moving
to new places and visiting new lands.
The question is, of course, this: are these parts of
me that I appreciate and understand and make use of, or
are they things that I've forgotten and make no effort to