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.