Do you ever think “I’ve been here before”? I don’t mean that you lived in a different era in a different form (that you’ve re-incarnated from a cockroach into a human) but that you’ve lived an experience that now, at some slight remove, you’re living again. Re-living.
Maybe at the start of a new semester, when you read the unit outline at the end of Week 1 and realise that you’ve missed the deadline by two days for one part of your first assessment task. Or vacuuming the floor when it felt like only yesterday that you tried to get that same spot out of the carpet? Or reading the start of a book you didn’t think you’d read only to find that it’s so familiar that you know, at some point in the past, you’ve sat in the same spot, legs curled up under you, puppy pushed in beside you, the winter sun streaming through the windows … that you’ve been there before?
Life can be like that.
Years ago, you packed a bag, walked out the door, changed your life.
And then, twenty years later it happens again. Bags are packed, doors close, lives change.
Only this time it’s not your bag or your door or your life. But close enough to get a sense that you’ve been here before.
It comes as no surprise to find that life doesn’t happen in a straight line. There are turns, and deviations, and unexpected detours that lead you down paths that are overgrown with lack of wear and just a tiny bit spooky, but interesting if you have a spirit of adventure and just a touch (or more) of courage – which you don’t realise you have until you’ve travelled that path and have the benefit of reflection and hindsight.
And there are seeming circles … you tread a path, and then without any encouragement or persuasion, your daughter treads a similar path.
The lines you once heard, she’s hearing (she’ll come to her senses – just give her time and she’ll be back). The fingers that wagged at you, now wag at her. The system that seemed stacked against you, now seems stacked against her. The sense of dislocation you felt, she’s now feeling. The questions you asked yourself, she’s also asking.
There’s living, and then there’s re-living.
Different actors. Different lives. But so, so familiar.
Age gives me an advantage. I can see from a distance – having made it to the end of that dark and gloomy path she’s now treading. I know that it’ll get lighter the further along she goes. That there are more options than she first thought, more warmth from others than she initially envisaged when everyone (or so it seems) was turned against her, more resilience and strength than she ever imagined was there, lurking within.