I live in the past - as several of my friends will tell you. They may go on to say I live in the past to an unhealthy extent, to the detriment of the present and the future - but don't listen to them; what would they know anyway?
Today I was working away in front of the TV. I've been getting a bit behind so I was doing my best to resist the procrastination demons singing boy band harmony in my ear. But then a promo came on for some production-line-saccharine US teen "drama" series, Dawson's hills 9021 tree hill or something. I don't remember much about it except one of the characters saying to another, "if you could chose to revisit any day from your life..." and that was that! Immediately any chance of finishing work escaped out the window as my mind jumped back a decade.
I got out an old box of letters from my university days and spent an incredible half hour wallowing in the words of ex-girlfriends, acquaintances long since forgotten, family members bringing me news of home across the continents.
It wasn't all rosy. Some of it brought back some quit painful memories - and there was a genuine sense of remorse for relationships long gone and hitherto forgotten; good friendships which meant the world to be ten years ago that have withered and died through lack of attention and care.
It made me sad. I vowed to get in contact with each and every one of them; but I knew I wouldn't. Time has passed, water has traveled under the bridges; I
would be scared that the Oprah-reunited-long-lost-family moment in my head would become a "Sam? Sam who?" moment in reality.
But then I spotted something I hadn't noticed before: a letter from a dear friend who clearly didn't know my address. The address which was printed on the envelop was about as vague as the directions you give to someone you don't really want knowing where you live. Off the side was written "If all else fails please leave at Ballywatt Church." It's sort of a lovely declaration of faith - more faith in God than in the Royal Mail. It made me smile.
This sort of thing always makes me smile; and this particular friend does stuff like this all the time. Perhaps that is one reason why distance and lack of attention never withered our friendship - he was the best man at my wedding three months ago - or maybe he just has more patience than most.