Passage of time

Late last night, I was trying to go back to sleep and having a lot of trouble getting there. So I listened to music, an activity I can do at any hour of any day, in any mood.

For this particular mood, I was listening to some old favorites. The song that struck me was “Sign On The Door” by Edwin McCain, because something about it gave me one of the most intense feelings of déjà vu I’ve ever had. As I listened, I reflected, and I found that I had indeed been there before.

I could recall with crystal clarity a night fifteen years ago where I was in the exact same spot (lying in my bed) listening to the exact same song, and…I don’t know. Something about that hit me hard.

Yes, some things have changed. My headphones were attached to a smartphone, not the Rio Karma MP3 player that was already obsolete back then. I have a different computer, different TV, even different lights. So it wasn’t exactly the same room, if you think about it like that.

I’ve changed, too. I’m 37 instead of 22, of course, with all that entails. I’m about 30 pounds heavier, unfortunately. I’ve lost my grandparents, my uncle, and two close cousins. I’ve been to depths I couldn’t even imagine in 2006, and I have the scars to prove it.

But it hasn’t all been bad. I’m employed for the moment. I have a partner who loves me. I’m smarter, wiser, and more certain of myself than I was then. Maybe it’s just because I’ve been to the bottom, but I feel things are looking up.

Still, it’s strange. I truly felt that I had somehow completed a circle, that I had ended up back where I started. And I briefly wondered what I would do if, by some miraculous means, I’d been sent back to that other night, but with the memories and knowledge and experiences I’ve gathered in the past decade and a half. What would I change? How would I live my life differently, knowing what might come?

Or is this river of time actually more like a whirlpool? Would I think I was doing it better the second time around, only to find myself lying in bed fifteen years later, thinking the exact same thing?