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February 4th, 2022
If today were your first day, what would you do? This hypothetical requires a little fantasy of course. Let’s say you’re at your current age, you have all your current skills - unlike a new born, - but like new born, say you have not a single shred of your past. All grief and loss and trauma, hardship and heartache is erased. With it all goes all the good times, but this isn’t an issue - you can’t miss what never occurred, and this premise simply plops you into your current existence without any of the bitter nor the sweet of yesterday.
Would you be more or less held back? Would you be able to do more? And if so, what would it be? There are plenty of culture pointers in this direction, phrased as quaint aphorisms:
This is the first day of the rest of your life.
Dance like no one is watching.
The first asks you to march forward without the shackles of yesterday. The second isn’t really talking about the gaze of others, but how you gaze at yourself. Self-consciousness, one developed from a past filled with embarrassments that lock you into constrained behaviors.
The wave of yesterday is our biggest constraint: outlining the program of our own behavior, heaping on the baggage, and dragging the mind away from the moment to dwell again on things that will remain unchanged.
The relationship we have with the past might be the single biggest defining factor in how we go about our present day. Does the past linger and overwhelm when sleep finally removes it’s veil, letting the day flood in as we slowly remember who we are and where we are? Or do we wake up remembering forward? Do we wake up looking forward to what we have planned for the day?
A plan is a strange concept - it allows us to remember something that hasn’t yet happened. It’s a proposal of play for the future, making it both a piece of the past and the future at once. (Unless of course we are in the midst of forming the plan)
A plan is a sort of dream. And while usually such things are rendered as boring and trivial as to-do lists, like chores, such plans and to-do’s are the best way to escape a past that still has the teeth of it’s trap lodged in an ankle. Making a plan for tomorrow is a subversive way of injecting our hopes and dreams into the past - by planning them, writing them down, and waking up to them, we wake up with a yesterday that has a gem embedded in it.