Sometimes when I wake up in the morning, I wonder where I am. It’s not disorientation – not in the physical sense. I know where I am geographically, but I wonder if maybe, just maybe, this time I have woken up in that other life – the one that flits about in the periphery of my subconscious every so often.
On days and nights like this one, I look around and I see all the could-be’s that seem to have passed me by. I’m not complaining or saying (Astaghfirullah!) that I’m not satisfied with the way things are. It’s just that feeling that sometimes comes over people.
Like when you move to another country or another house, but years later you still feel a certain tugging at the heart when you think of your old home. No matter how young you are, the feeling is old. It’s mellow and shaded with parchment tones, slightly crumpled, a little worn and yet when you slip into it, it shapes itself to your every emotional curve, like that familiar, faded t-shirt you always reach out for when you want comfort.
The really interesting bit about this feeling is that it comes with the knowledge that you cannot go back and pick up what you missed. I don’t know if that is good or bad.
You see glimpses of your childhood dreams in the lives of other people and you wonder whether they ever dreamt about those things too. And if they did, why are their dreams coming true and not yours? Oh dear, that sounds a little bitter, doesn’t it? 😦
But honestly, there is no bitterness in the question. Just plain curiosity. I guess many people ask the same questions every day. Why do other people have opportunities and experiences that they don’t value or take advantage of when you would do so much with the same? But then, who says they are not appreciating their life? Can you decide that simply because they’re not doing with it what you would? Of course not.
So, I can’t bring myself to begrudge them – that would be plain stupid – but I do wonder what Allah (SWT) is trying to teach me when He puts me in places I haven’t chosen to be in and keeps me away from those He knows I’ve always wanted to be in. And more than that, why does He then keep showing me people (I don’t mean the obvious instances from daily life) who have those very things? Why throw it in my face unless there is an obvious message I don’t seem to be able to read in all of it?
At the risk of sounding dramatic, on nights like this, I feel like I’m sitting on the shore of a lonely beach. The waves are coming and going out, taking everything – the shells, the grains, the water, the infinite number of beach debris out there to the vast expanses of the ocean, but I’m not allowed to even get my feet wet. Things are slipping away, moving on, going ahead – except me. I seem stuck in one place and one moment. Every minute that passes is one more opportunity that escapes my grasping fingers and I can do nothing, but let it slip away and watch it disappear.
Sure, there is the future and it hold so many unknown treasures, any one of which may have my name written all over it. Or not. But it is a fact that there are some things that will never come back, some possibilities that are lost forever, some experiences that will stay eternally in the realm of imagination.
And those are things worth being nostalgic about once in a while.
“Why are women … so much more interesting to men than men are to women?”
– Virginia Woolf