16 August 2014

Haunted

I don't believe in ghosts. It's all a load of nonsense in my view. Those who believe in ghosts secretly desire something more - something beyond everyday life - and so they are receptive to ghostly ideas, ghostly stories, ghostly films. I would happily set up a tent and camp in a pitch dark graveyard, snuggled in my sleeping bag, listening to the hooting of owls and the leathery whooshing of bats' wings. I am 100% confident that I would not be disturbed by phantoms and that I would sleep soundly till dawn.

And yet at times, I feel that I am haunted. Maybe you are the same. When I was working and there were never enough hours in a day and every morning was like the beginning of  another Groundhog Day, there was hardly time to ponder. But now that I have oodles of time to spare, events and faces from the past come back to haunt me.

We are who we are and though we might be able to alter the fringes of our lives, the core human being remains unchanged. As they say, it's all in our DNA. A feature of my "haunting" is the replaying of past events - mostly when things went wrong, when I suffered injustice, when I failed to act in the way I should have done, when wrong words were spoken or the right words were unsaid. I tend to play those particular life tapes far more often than I revisit my successes, the joys that  I have known, the wonderful places I have been fortunate enough to visit, the good things I have done.

Edith Piaf memorably sang:-
Non, rien de rien
Non, je ne regrette rien
Ni le bien qu'on m'a fait
Ni le mal; tout ça m'est bien égal !
Which loosely translated means:-
No, nothing of nothing
No! I don't feel sorry about anything
Not the good things people have done to me
Not the bad things, it's all the same to me.
But to me this is all pure hogwash. In reality, it is impossible to live without regrets. To "regret nothing" is an aspiration, not a believable way of living.

We are all the same in that inside our skulls there's a person that we refer to as "I" or "me". But no matter how close we get to other people, they will never know what it means to live inside somebody else's  head. The "I" that I know is very different from your particular "I". "I" is composed of our genetic make up, our experience, our diet, our physical health, the stimulation we receive from the world around us.  And for these reasons we are all different. No two "I's" can ever be the same.

What is past is past. We can't change it and yes there's probably no point in crying over spilt milk but in spite of all that, I know that I am not alone in devoting far too much emotional energy and time to past recollections that may often be tainted with regret. You can't snap out of it or prevent that kind of thinking. In the end there's no way to exorcise those metaphorical ghosts that haunt us. We must continue striving to  live with them.

17 comments:

  1. Qué será, será.
    Don't panic.
    Ne paniquez pas mon ami.
    It's only temporary.

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    1. Perhaps I should go and lie down in a darkened room for a while. But when I emerge I know those "ghosts" of times past will still be around. "Que sera sera" is only a meaningful refrain when one is blind drunk.

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    2. I wasn't taking the piss, I was just trying to lighten things up a bit.
      Nothing wrong with a gloomy post but happy ones are best. There is far too much going on to gloom over.

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  2. Because I'm just a tad older than you are, I can tell you that one of the benefits of aging is that some of those memories just leak right out of your brain. Those with the worst memories at 70, I believe, are the happiest. They don't live much in their own head because there's nothing there. Personally, I'm happy to have lived long enough to see that time and fate have amazingly taken care of things I thought were ruined by my mistakes. Sometimes things turn out well in ways I never imagined. It's rather egotistical, actually, to think we could make things better, "if only",,,

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    1. Dear Jan - Thank you for your wise contemplation of what I admit is an uncharacteristic post. Of course all of our "if only's" are like water under the bridge.

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  3. Yorky, please don't spend too much time regretting that you have never visited Cairns in Far North Queensland ~ I will probably never get to visit Yorkshire either.

    Uncharacteristic post perhaps ~ but as you say we all have to live with our own version of "I" in our head. Have a wonderful Sunday!

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    1. Carol. I don't need to visit Cairns because, as I have mentioned before, I can always go to Cairns Road which is only a mile away from this keyboard. And you can always go and visit Yorkey's Knob.

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  4. You can tell when I am remembering an unfortunate incident from my past. Something I regret which I am embarrassed by. I start to hum. Well, emit a noise. Out of tune. Even though I have come to recognise this trait I have no control of it, I just hear myself then try to cover it up by turning it into humming so no one says "What's that funny noise you're making?" It often happens when we're traveling along in the car and my mind is wandering. Perhaps it is way of teaching you to do better in a similar situation next time ? I have to say that I feel worse each time a remember these situations. Wish it would stop !!

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    1. Thanks for sharing this Helen. Maybe we are all like ponds. Stuff bubbles to the surface but there's an awful lot more happening below.

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  5. You are heavy into reflecting today. I found that one I retired the reflecting opened like a floodgate. I think this is an important part of who we are. There's much more meaning to our life.

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    1. It gives me solace to read that you also experienced a flood of reflection when your working life ended Red. Thanks for that.

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  6. We are not completely governed by our DNA, in my opinion...what happens in your childhood...when you're young plays a huge part in who you become, too. That is why I always say adults should treat their children well....they are special...and should be treated with care.

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    1. You are of course right Lee. Our DNA is only part of the equation.

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  7. Fortunately, I am too shallow a character to dwell much on things I can not change, such as the past. I do replay conversations and events in my mind, too, but more the good bits than the bad, like browsing a photo album of beautiful days gone by.
    Of course, I am not entirely without guilt (real or imagined). For instance, I regularly wonder whether I could not have taken better care of both my cats. One died of cancer at the age of 17, the other one of a heart condition at a similar age. Both had been on constant medication for years, and I had been taking them back and forth to the vet's, but still feel I should have done more.
    What I am most grateful for is that I have absolutely no reason for remorse in connection with my husband's death. We had been very happy together, there had been no bickering or nagging between us the day he died so unexpectedly, and the last time I saw him alive was with a hug and kiss when I left for work. Also, the doctor told me I could have done nothing to prevent his death, even if I had been in the same room. That, and knowing that he was happy with me and his own life, gives me consolation and peace of mind.

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    1. Well I am pleased that my slightly weird post gave you cause for a little reflection about your own life. I can see that there must be plenty of consolation in the memory of your last morning with Steve and how he loved you.

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  8. The price we pay for being the so called superior species. Which other mammal has regrets, kills for pleasure, does all the awful things man does to his fellow man, children, the planet, animals? Not many or even any, I suspect.
    Just celebrate Mr YP you are a man of integrity, with values most men can only aspire to.

    LLX

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  9. When I was a young teenager my Godfather told me that regret was like cancer and the more you dwelt on it the more it could turn into bitterness (with ones self or others) and that spelt the death of happiness. Whether because of that advice or because I am naturally able to do so (i.e. it is in my DNA and upbringing) I have always been able to let go of the Bad Times and concentrate of the Good Times. That does not, of course, stop the little play-backs occasionally: good and bad.

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