The words of Baz Luhrmann’s song Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen) runs through my head whilst writing this post. I’m not sure exactly why this song; maybe it’s because it reminds me of the first time I heard it when my brother played it to me, maybe it’s because it’s full of nostalgia as well as looking to the future or maybe it’s because it’s a song that’s about helping you work stuff out. Either way this quirky song is rolling around my noggin whilst writing these rambling words.
Over the last few days I’ve been rearranging my room to switch my chest of drawer for a writing desk (which makes me feel like a correspondent in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which I’m not going to lie, I love!), and in doing so I’ve uncovered some old photographs, trinkets and miscellaneous bits and bobs that I’d forgotten about but that hold whole gaggles of memories from the time that they are from and the people who’re part of their history, and in one way or another it’s made me feel quite melancholy for days gone past and made me yearn to go back to times with friends and family and really make the most of those moments.
Whilst being inhabited by this old sentimental mind these past few days, I’ve had the longing to be able to find a Tardis and hop on back to many moons ago where it feels that the world was a little more care-free and all the predicaments faced were (I now realise) generally small in comparison to more current years. Yet over most those years that I wish I could travel back to, I was under the tightest grips of my persistent ocd brain and I unfortunately allowed it to take president over reality, so there are countless days that I’ve spent with my family and friends, without being properly present because of the nagging insistence of my ocd. But now living with my ocd under better control, with the volume turned down a notch or two, I’m able to enjoy my life a whole lot more and I just wish at times that I could go back to then with what I know now, and make the most of the laughs, larks and adventures with those closest to me.
Don’t get me wrong, I know that nostalgia often comes accompanied by it’s good friends – the rose tinted glass and it’s sidekick hindsight; but nonetheless it doesn’t make those memories whether rose tinted or not, any less important, powerful or joyful. And looking through these little items of time-travel that I’ve found has made me remember times that I’d forgotten about, stored at the back of my mind or not thought of in a long time, and many of them I like to believe aren’t remembered through the distortion of the aforementioned lens, but that they were really as happy as I remember them.
Amongst the treasures that I’ve found are photographs of family and friends, mementos from days out, ticket stubs, jewellery, notes made, cards given and random bits and pieces gifted or collected over time – and they all hold a link to the past. It seems crazy to think so much time has past and with it so many changes. I’m lucky enough to still be close with many of the people from my childhood and adolescence, yet I still sometimes get that ache for missing how things were and for the people I spent so much of my time with. Some of our lives have simply naturally migrated in different directions, some are still fortunately in the same familiar orbit; some are sadly no longer with us and some have merely evolved into different roles in life, but all of our lives are connected in a way that is special and can never be undone. No matter where life takes us or our geographical locations, we will always have shared a rather important time of our lives together – and despite any angst or hardships faced at the time, in general, looking back they were very happy times indeed, and my goodness how lucky we were to have had them.
But it’s not all gloomy woefulness of missing when looking through these tokens to the past; the act of remembering old times can be just the medicine needed on a grey day. There’s nothing quite like remembering a hilarious ‘you-had-to-be-there’ moment, misadventures from your youth, carefree days and family times. Those memories seem to have a fizzing power to inextricably lighten a heavy load and fill you with warmth and joy. You just can’t beat the magical powers of a good belly-chuckle that can only come from reminiscing with old friends and family members. There’s something about knowing that these happy days in my memory will always be there – unchanged by time and tide, and I find that knowledge comforting, reassuring and somewhat remarkable. So instead of keeping my head in the past (which I am prone to do), I’m learning to keep these happy memories in the pocket of my toolkit for life instead; to walk beside me and remember whenever I need them, and as a reminder of happiness and reasons to keep on pushing on no matter what life throws my way. I think we all owe it to our younger selves to make the most of today from lessons already learned, to try to keep that care-free outlook on life even on the most trudgey of days, to never pass up a laugh, to find strength, to be kind, to not take life too seriously, to make the most of every moment and to have enough gumption to live life the way we wish we had in the past. We can’t change our past, but we have full control of our future. So I like to think that our happy memories and ourselves are part of each other, and together we can stand side by side looking forward to the many adventures yet to come. And if all else fails – just remember sunscreen.
Books Featuring Time Travel
- Before the Coffee gets Cold and Tales from the Cafe by Toshikazu Kawaguchi
- A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
- The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
- Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley (not technically a time-travel book but touches on memory and the idea of transmigration)
- The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas
- Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
- The Next Together by Lauren James
If you want to check out Baz Luhrmann’s song (as well as the new 2020 remix by Mr Obama himself) check out the links below. I hope you enjoy :]
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Be nice to your siblings, they’re your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future
Understand that friends come and go, but a precious few, who should hold on
Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, for as the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were youngEverybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen) by Baz Luhrmann