I had the most strange experience today while visiting my old university where I hadn’t been for about 28 years. (Well maybe I’ve even been there once or twice in between but I don’t remember.)
I went to the music department to leave some flyers there for an upcoming gig.
While walking the hallways – a (relatively) old man of 55 who maybe doesn’t look much like a professor – between crowds of, as it seemed to me, very young students, I noticed that I could hardly remember this place. Between 1973 and 1981, I must have spent almost 8 years here, studying English and Education. I must have looked like these very young people then (with much longer hair though). This place must have been very familiar to me back then, it was the place where I spent large parts of my days, learning, working, reading, writing, falling in love, being afraid of exams, falling asleep in lectures.
All of this felt so remote today that I could hardly connect to it, as if someone else had been a student here. I was surprised how long my life has already been that large parts of it feel so remote. All these years seemed like ages ago. My past life suddenly seemed to span over a huge amount of time. This timespan didn’t seem like it had anything to do with me as I am now. Very strange. On one hand, my days seem to pass by very fast. But when I look back, it looks endlessly far away.
On a related note, many people aren’t happy with their present lives, and wish some better phase of their past lives would be back. When I look back, the university years weren’t such a happy phase of my life. Although I’m getting older and I begin to develop some minor health problems, the last 10 years have been the best of my life. I’m happier and more rooted in myself that I’ve ever been before. It feels good to see that.