Do you ever find yourself feeling like the shadow of your former self has lingered in a certain space?
You probably encounter some version of this when you visit your parents’ home. Pictures of your younger self mock you from their frames with insults about who you’ve become. Or maybe you hear it in the whispers of crushed childhood dreams, calling out from you within the walls of your bedroom from long ago.
“Remember who you once aspired to be!” The voices feebly cry.
We leave a littered trail of former selves behind us when we advance on new horizons.
Maybe that’s part of growing up. That maturity isn’t so much about “becoming” an adult, as much as it is about killing the remnants of your childish self. Perhaps we’re born adults and childhood is a protective outer shell that wears away with time.
Still, I can’t help but feel the presence of that forgotten youth from time to time.
In certain spaces.
In the melody of certain songs.
In the scent of certain seasons.
In the memories inspired by certain pictures and dust-covered trophies.
I cannot escape who I once was. Nor who I once aspired to become. Even if I wanted to, their voices cry out at me from their graves.
But I often wonder, are their voices getting stronger the farther I travel? Are my ears becoming more attuned to their cries as I age?
Sometimes I think it’s not that the ghosts of my former self are angry for dying. They just don’t want to be forgotten. They want their deaths to have meant something.
And maybe we owe our own ghosts that much. To make this life mean something more than it would have meant, that we might bring meaning to their deaths.