With every passing day, my memories of my childhood fade a little faster. It’s a thought that I wish could be an exaggeration, but with photos, documents, videos, and all other sorts of digital files keeping intricate records of my personality at every stage of life, I have proof that my life is far larger than I remember it being. Having a digital fingerprint across my devices and apps gives me the ability to both relieve splendid nostalgia and be worried at my complete lack of nostalgia. To feel everything for the things I remember, and struggle to feel at all for the things I don’t. It’s terrifying to ponder how much of my life filters through my perception and breaks down over time, leaving only vague recollections and uncertain emotions of that which felt so important in the moment.
Everything feels important in the moment, of course. Right now, my current moment is listening to soothing video game soundtracks, and waiting for tomorrow so that my brother will be home and my family may go out and eat sushi together. And that feeling of knowing a moment, the current moment, is never one that I’ve forgotten. I know I’ve felt it many times over the years, ever since I became aware of my paradoxically limited and limitless memory. Saying goodbye to my elementary school for the first time felt like ‘this moment’. Suffering through algebra in 7th grade felt like ‘this moment’. My first attempt at writing a fictional story felt like ‘this moment’. That sensation of energy, of life, of me in the present is so recognizable, and something I know by heart no matter what. Yet that makes it harder to internalize the knowledge that every event I once associated with that energy is now just a moment, distantly breaking down in the back of my mind, no less consequential on my current self than any other moment.
All that makes me, makes anyone, is the accumulation of their memories- both conscious and unconscious. But the idea of so much slipping away over my lifetime, my humanity slipping away over a lifetime, is terrifying. Days and events that I knew I once felt crystal clear, are becoming little more than fogging mirrors to a version of myself that barely exists. It’s hard to feel like I’ve gained much, compared to how much I already know I’ve lost- and will continue to lose.
A bit depressing, to be thinking like this at the ripe old age of seventeen years. Sometimes it’s hard to detach myself from this idea of a default ‘me’, with a determined mindset and memories that I can fall back on. Still, the idea of being stagnant and never moving forward terrifies me just as much, if not more. It’s such a human enigma, to fear and love all pasts, presents, and futures of life at once. It’s hard to resist the urge to want it all, and so do it all- even when that would dissolve what remains of me as an individual person, current or otherwise. It’s hard to resist that worry that I’m already losing myself, even when ‘me’ as a person has only just begun.
Most of the time, even right now, I want to stay in the moment and keep looking forward to the next day. But in the pauses, it’s hard not to wonder if I’m not putting enough effort into holding onto what I still have. I wonder, some days, how much I really ‘have’ at all.
I don’t think the questions and worries will ever truly stop. Nor will my goals for the future, and my moments right now. Yet maybe that’s all I can hope for, to keep on being everything, aspirations and fears and feelings all in one. Maybe that’ll keep being enough, at any given moment.