They say you only miss it when it’s gone. Pacifiers. Toys. Your first school. Soccer with friends. Your mother’s food. Dogs. That relationship you thought would last, and so did everybody else. College parties. That beautiful tree in front of your neighbor’s house. A pessimist would say time is the measure of all that’s being taken away from us. But it’s natural that things and people go through a process of development, slowly taking shape, adapting to more immediate needs, enduring daily requirements and watching them change, replaced for something more potent, more suitable or convenient. Maybe it’s unfortunate, but our power to control such changes is too small and we can’t stop them, no matter what we think or feel. How do we separate memory and experience from behavior, escaping the trap of self-absorption and the dangers of contagious resentment?
It takes enough effort to look at our own history, but society asks us to go an extra mile: we have to know the stories of the day and be able to relate them to the whole media coverage; we need to understand the political moves across continents, how decisions and statements will affect people’s lives and come up with a consistent opinion about these developments, not just to look good, but to make sense of the world and find out what’s our role in it, which is a lot more difficult than posting a meme with one of the high ranking officials – whether it’s funny or offensive. But there are harder questions than the common ideology of Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn or how Nicolas Maduro and Lula think about the people. Most would be likely to change their minds if they found out their partner’s family voted red instead of blue, left instead of right. It does affect our lives, but nobody’s ready to have a conversation about how to run a business until they reach a certain age, let alone a whole country or a global movement.
Time takes its toll on people. You’re born, you learn your first words, you go to school and make friends, they all start their jobs and so do you, then one day you wake up wanting to have more time available and you just don’t, no matter how hard you try to sort out your tasks and commit to the most urgent ones. So you start to look back. Why did I do that? If only I had known, if we could’ve met earlier, if I had done that before, and so the list goes on. We also learn that everything happens for a reason, and our freedom and responsibility have less to do with it than how the world really works, which is unpredictable most of the time, but we still try to understand. One thing is certain: there’s a lot more ahead of us, a lot of hard work, a lot of changes and new circumstances. The general agreement should be that our effort to track how we got here is as important as what comes next: from voting rights to marriage, from racial and social justice to the protection of personal information, from sexual wellness to worker’s rights, from communication standards to healthy habits, everything began somewhere, and ignoring the movements that came before, just like the beginning of our own lives, is a mistake we can’t afford to make, if we want to be reasonable and fair.