I recall sitting on a hill at Flinders University about two hours from sunset one workday afternoon in Spring, 2006. I was groaning internally about how much I was hating 2006, and I was wishing it had been like 2005, which I was quite fond of.
This was strange, because in hindsight 2006 was close to the most formative of my life. I have a million crazy, vivid memories. The thing is, you can't remember back paint the same way you remember adventure.
Sometimes, in 2016, I get a nagging sense of regret that I'm wasting my life. Things feel like they've slowed down, become too routine and are ruled by metrics like calories and dollars and minutes. I feel like being spontaneous takes weeks of planning, and all my adventures have big countdown clocks looming over them the whole time.
I've reasoned with myself that when I think back to all the fun things I got up to with friends during University days it's not fair to compare them to the past winter of relative dullness (although I did spend four weeks in Europe. Christ.) After all, when I think back to the events of 2006 I'm ignoring the days, weeks, months where nothing happened except for work and back exercises and TV. My nostalgic memories only seem crammed together because they were so long ago they blended into one collage.
How foolish I felt, then, after stumbling across some old chatlogs from 2006 and discovered exactly how packed those days actually had been. Weekends and weeknights were bars, parties, beach trips and social sports all squeezed between a houseboat trip, camping and music festivals. I barely had time for one sudoku a day.
Fascinated and slightly disturbed by how apparently extroverted I'd managed to be back then, I read on. The more I reviewed of my old, late night (sometimes tipsy) rambling, the more of a personality I really don't remember having come to prominence. Events I thought I remembered clearly turned out to have happened slightly differently. I was living in a totally different reality.
A journal entry usually gets at least one or two read overs before posting. Unwritten memories get eroded and shaped by the mind every time they're accessed. Chatlogs are pretty raw. They showed me out as a young person, with all the failings I consider today's young people to have. I didn't take important things seriously. I was intentionally vapid, naive, I flat out just lacked empathy. It wasn't malicious, it just wasn't mentally developed. I think that at that age it's actually impossible for most humans to be proper adults. There's something different in the brain. Is that the cause of different realities? Is this how old people become grumpy, and disconnected from their youth?
We all live in our own realities. We're really freaking blind to it. Even your own realities from the past aren't how you remember them. I thought that was a bit scary, but I don't know how real that feeling really is.