Written by: Larry J. Pitman
He always thought it was silly to think about the past. Sitting with friends, sipping a beer, he would pontificate, “The past? Forget it! It is gone and done with. Let’s enjoy the present and allow the future to take care of itself.”
He had probably picked up this quote from an article he had read by Tony Robbins in Reader`s Digest. He said it with such conviction that, whether they really thought that way, he usually had his audience nodding in agreement.
Moving to Peru, for him, was just turning another page in the history of life. Sure, he could keep contact with his family through the internet and the telephone. The separation from his former life meant little to him. In fact, it might be better here in Peru than being there. It was a great escape. Now, he had no responsibilities and, at least, there were no grounds for conflict with anybody.
All that seemed to work for him. He had adjusted well to life in Lima, and rarely thought about his former life in California or, even, about the family members that he had left there. He was living in the present just as he preached so often.
So he wasn’t prepared in any way for what happened.
He was looking at the web-site of the San Francisco Chronicle when he saw a collection of old photos from the 50’s and 60’s. He clicked on it, and in an instant, and was flooded with images of his past. They were familiar places, places of memories long ago stored away and forgotten. Immediately his mind raced to how he had been to those places with his father---- Golden Gate Park, Sutro`s Baths, Chinatown.
His father….. how much he had enjoyed those times with him.
From that pleasurable retrospective, slowly a feeling of sadness came over him. Those times, he realized, and his father are gone. Never to be repeated. He felt that loss, and then came the regret that he never had enough time to share those same experiences with his sons.
With this insight, he realized that he was really a displaced person. No place was really his home. California was no longer the place it had been in his memory. When he went back for a visit, he felt like he was visiting another foreign country.
Peru? Here, too, he was a foreigner. He liked living here and even felt comfortable, but he would never be a Peruvian.
Now he was becoming really depressed. He realized that the only home he had was in his memories. And these were the memories of things that no longer existed. Morose thought piled on morose thoughts. He was really down now.
He was normally a happy man, he thought. But now he feels terrible, just because he clicked on some old photos.
Then, he shook his head angrily, as though to shake all these sad thoughts out of his head.
He screamed inside his head,
“Damn this nostalgia. I’m here, and I am going to enjoy my life”.