Nostalgia is a wonderful gift. It causes us to view experiences through rose-colored glasses. Things seem to be always better in the past, way back when. Time fades the bad and somehow polishes it into a softer, more conducive and amenable version of the truth.
Recently, I’ve been feeling quite nostalgic about the 80s (who am I kidding? I’m always nostalgic about the 80s!). Anyone who lived through it (pun intended) will know exactly what I mean. It was an exciting decade to be young and carefree. It was for me, anyway. Big hair, big shoulder pads, big living. And the music and films of that decade celebrated life and made you glad you were alive, alcohol notwithstanding. I remember those times with great fondness.
What I do regret, though, is not finding that special person in the 80s. I was engaged briefly when I was 24, and bookended my engagement by falling in love with all the wrong men (bad boys anyone?) because they seemed so, well, interesting. And dark. And challenging. And not boring. Which, of course, doomed me to a good 10 years of unhappiness in the relationship department. It seemed that I could never quite get it together and actually fall for someone decent.
So here I am – nearly 50 – and single, which is the point of this post.
Last Sunday I watched Made In Heaven. It was a favourite of mine in the late 80s and I hadn’t seen it for close to 20 years. The movie is based on the premise that if you fall in love in heaven, then you love forever on Earth. But once you leave heaven (and it’s inevitable that you do) you may take any number of lifetimes to find your soul mate again. You fall for lookalikes – people who look like your soul mate or reflect their essence – and there may be times when you nearly cross paths (perhaps within feet of each other), but for whatever reason don’t. But in the end, you do meet again because chance and opportunity and coincidence eventually conspire to bring you together. Right place, right time, right face.
On one hand I embrace the philosophy behind this movie. Our soul mate is out there and we will be reunited. It certainly explains my restlessness and continued searching for my other. (He’s out there somewhere. I know it. I will find him. Helloooooooo! Here I am! Over here! ). It certainly explains my inability to find my one true love (other than psychoanalysis, of course) because what if all my previous relationships are just pale imitations of my soul mate? There’s something about their essence that’s familiar, but not the real thing.
And on the other hand, I find this idea very depressing. What happens if it takes us a few lifetimes on Earth to find each other? What happens if we can never co-ordinate and when I’m on Earth, he’s in heaven. Or vice versa. Or what if we can’t co-ordinate our ages and we end up with a real life version of Benjamin Button? What happens if Tom Hardy is really my soul mate and we never get to meet in this lifetime because his fame clearly prohibits it? There are more questions, of course. This is just the tip of the philosophic iceberg.
What I do know for sure is that all this wondering about what could be – and may never happen – is an exercise in futility. I’m not sure if there is actually anything after this, so I’d hate to waste this life if this is it. My approach these days – now that I have a few more years under my belt – is to enjoy the ride. Good, bad, awful, beautiful, tragedy, comedy. It’s the journey that’s important, because who knows what the final destination will look like?
In the end, all that matters is que sera sera. What will be will be.