There's nothing easy about reflecting on the past, the present, or the future. At any point in time, we question our former selves; our motives, aspirations, feelings, predictions and dreams. Recently (and thanks to a particular television series) I retrospectively glance back at my younger self and wonder what was going through his mind. What were his dreams and aspirations? What changed? Why did it change? Does he regret his decisions? Why/why not? Was it anyone's fault? From the moment we are born, our number starts counting up. Like the film "In Time" (featuring Justin Timberlake - the premise being everyone has a biologically-signed lifespan and once your time runs out, you die - but you have to work to increase your time); in many ways, the lowest common denominator that connects our collective existence is the only statistical anomaly we can comprehend and subsequently label in every fraction of a fraction within every living, breathing moment.
Time is then, and time is now. Time, as a result of our choices, shapes our future, but the myriad of daily choices determine how much value we place on the time we currently have, have had, and continue to have, until we consequently haven't. This could be an overgeneralisation, but time is everything, and time is nothing. It's no wonder we glance into the past to ponder what our time could have become.
I recently completed a personality test, adding valuable context to recent realisations of self-perception. As an “INFJ-T”, my personality characteristics include Introversion, Intuition, Feeling and Judging - with the T (Turbulent) leading to excessive and harsh self-criticism (you can find the personality profile for INFJ-T on this page). It’s interesting (but not surprising) to see one of my minimalist de-cluttering heroes Marie Kondo listed as a fellow INFJ! Given these personality traits, it makes total sense that I dwell on times past, opening myself to dialogue of self-loathing and criticism.
Shows like the one previously mentioned take me back to a time where I had wished I made different choices, wondering where I would have ended up. They say that “the only way is up”, but the more I reflect and self-criticise, the more it feels as though “up” isn’t a direction to move, but a place to strive for; a concept or idea to dream of for a day in the distant future. I’m certain there are other personality types that view this concept differently, but my overly-sensitive lack of self-preserving thoughts and feelings have, for a long time, driven me in a direction that has never felt like I’m moving upwards in life.
If anything, I constantly feel like I’m strafing sideways.