Like the Grown-Ups

Like any common over-analyzer, I’ve twisted my head these last few weeks over the significance vs. coincidence of things. Looking at things from my own perspective, there has to be a reason for it all. There must be something I’m supposed to discover here, and each little gift the world gives me is like a clue leading me to what I’m supposed to do next.

Then again, if I were to hear another person sharing similar accounts as mine, same feelings as I have now, maybe I would think that he or she was interpreting what he/she wanted. Every inch of the Earth is covered with some thing, and I cannot pay attention to it all. So I have to be selective. Maybe I see what I want to see, and depending on the choices I want to make, I’ll read the signs that indicate I should make those choices.

This month is the anniversary of my father’s passing, and so, has been a time to reflect in honorarium. Combined with the experiences of my trip and my see-sawing relationships between two languages, I finally feel like there’s a traffic jam inside my head.

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Not until it was pointed out to me, not until I was told, “You’ve got to get over it,” did I realize that maybe from an outside perspective, I seem stuck on not a concept, but in the past.

It’s undeniable that our upbringings are inseparable from our characters, even or maybe especially in the ways we try to express ourselves as the opposite of those who brought us into this world. We yearn for what we lacked, and often overcompensate by trying to give this missing thing to our friends, children, loved ones. One can learn a lot about the things people have had to live without in the past by observing what they can’t live without in the present.

But where do you draw the line between being conscientious of history and being confined by it? The past is a sign that can inform us as we proceed into the future, but it is not a mirror.

There is a paragraph in El Principito that reads:

“Mi amigo jamás daba explicaciones. Quizá me creía semejanteba él. Pero yo, desgraciadamente, no sé ver corderos a través de las cajas. Soy quízas un poco como las personas grandes. Debo de haber envejecido.”

“My friend never gave explanations. Perhaps he believed me to be the same as he. But I, unfortunately, do not know how to see sheep through boxes. I am perhaps a little like the grown-ups. I must have aged.”

I used to get annoyed with my parents for telling the same stories over and over again.

Yet here in my adulthood, I scour books, landscapes, cities, the internet, the lines of my personal history, anything for more information, more explanations, more how-to’s, to aid me in the things I cannot envision on my own.

Those who fail to study history are doomed to repeat it.

Perhaps those who study history will fail to imagine a different future.

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