“An interesting thing about records is that we tend to see them again. That’s what they’re there for, after all. There’s something about looking backward, however, which seems to damage the soul.
Reactivating dead thought patterns, over and over again, we can feel old desires like ghosts, moving us this way and that as we put ourselves under their sway again. A 15-year-old boy remembers wanting to become an astronaut. A 23-year-old man laments a lost girlfriend. Even the little things carry ghosts: a shopping list never fulfilled for an old project, a half-finished drawing, a story idea in a line.
If the bad memories nag, happy memories can be even worse. Winning a medal in sixth grade. Old soccer trophies. A special love letter. To be sure, we remember these times with love and fondness, but there is also something bad there. There can come to be a strange gnawing feeling and a dissatisfaction with a present that can never live up to the polished memories of old expectations.
Be careful of what you force yourself to remember. Be mindful when sending messages to your future self, because it might not want to be bothered so much.”