I have an unhealthy habit of experiencing premature melancholy nostalgia. This is a predilection for feeling sorrow for a loss that hasn’t happened yet.
This seems the right sort of thing to type about on a Sunday afternoon having said goodbye to my wife and son for a few days.
I was in Truro today, waiting for a change of trains, just long enough to walk down a hill and up again. It was the home of my great aunt Edith for many years, a kindly, sweet natured person who volunteered at the local Cathedral. She was the way elderly relatives are meant to be. I thought of how many more places have specks of sadness the older you get. Memories of holidays gone that, in the viewfinder of a memory, seem joyous. They have become 70s colour postcard nostalgia with a tint of Children’s Film Foundation, thanks to a careful mental editing process you are unaware of.
I have written before of the risk of walking down the path which leads to your grandmother’s old house, and seeing what has become of it all, so I won’t go there again.
I have been warned and scorned for “thinking too much” by friends and relatives. This is not the thinking too much which leads to grand theories of physics or philosophy, but the mulling over incidents or possibilities beyond the needs of survival. It is that fear of the many worlds of possibilities that mean your imagination eventually presumes the worst of all possible worlds, before a far more banal outcome is arrived at.
One thing my hectic work schedule helps with, is taking up the time that would otherwise be occupied by dull and morbid thoughts. I was a morbid and fearful child, perhaps because I had a close brush with mortality when I had only just stopped toddling, or maybe I would have been whatever. Perhaps my worried nature formed in the womb before I had even been shocked by daylight.
At the time of writing, I am fortunate to still have both parents alive. My fear of dramatic irony is such that I decided I better put “at the time of writing”, in case as I finsihed this sentence, my phone rang me to inform me of a death. When I read of people who tell of premonitions of tragady, i think’ “of course they had a premonition”, don’t many of us have so many on weekly basis, that one day the news will match up with the pessimistic imagining?
I listen to a piece of music, Elgar or Vaughan Williams, and think, “one day this music will remind me of someone who I cannot just call after listening to it. I think I’ll call them now, while I can”.
ridiculous thoughts of a ridiculous human.
I wander into a museum and remember my first visit, holding a hand and looking up at things that were once so high, but now I am at eye level to. I go into a cinema and remember when, waiting for growth spurt that seemed to be eluding me, had to sit on a stack of books.
I get ready for the rush of memories that come with death, though maybe I’ll be first. That’ll save a lot of bother, but I think it is best I live to 93, just so I can make a dent in all these books surrounding me, making a castle and a moat.
This the downside of happy memories, but how lucky to have them.
I am not going to live in a recut past, not everything was so good.
Time to start making memories, and I’ll remember to enjoy them as they form.
I’ll aim to make this 2014 tour memorable (yes yes, segue from blog, perhaps I’ll say it is my last ever tour, YEAH, like you would believe that). The first date in Bristol is sold out, but should be tickets for Norwich, Sheffield, Salford, Nottingham, Chorley, Birmingham, Huddersfield and a heap more from Swansea to Glasgow. Details HERE
You remind me of the Counting Crows lyric “And the price of a memory is the memory of the sorrow it brings” from Mrs Potter’s Lullaby. Hmmm…I might have to go chuck on that album now…