Tripping On The Past

Mental Health, Musings, Travel / Friday, April 7th, 2023

What do you do when you feel overwhelmed?

These last few days have been a cloud, a dank, damp, and heavy cloud.

On such days, my workouts help. A fast run or a furious boxing workout. Reading can be a hit-and-miss – when your mind is saturated, it’s more challenging to focus on words and imbibe their meaning. To drink deep of the marrow of words and retain their memory long? Ah, difficult.

But often, when going through difficult times, I have found it helps to look back on those times when things weren’t so difficult. The past can come back to us as a present then – a gift-wrapped bouquet of memories long gone but lingering still, waiting for us to remember them again.

And that’s why I turn to Google Photos to distract myself.

I have a Google One subscription only so that I can upload all the photos from my hard drive, accumulated over the years. And I love their notifications that ask me: Remember this day?

Or: Revisit this memory.
Or: Spotlight on this day.

Just like that, I am transported to the past.

Today, I went back to 2018, a solo trip to the Maldives. I didn’t go there for the fancy resorts. I couldn’t afford them, anyway. But I went to this unheard-of atoll, about 6 hours away by ferry from Maafushi.

An island all of 5 km maybe, sleepy during the day, and sleepy during the night. Ferocious thunderstorms. Glorious skies. A blue sea that invited you to see its depths, as you see in this video.

We (me and two other guests from the US who were the only ‘tourists’ on that island) were on a noisy boat, looking for dolphins. I was feeling nauseous. The sun was harsh, and then after almost an hour of sitting on this boat, and looking out at nothing, there they were. A fin here and a fin there.

Dolphins. Joyous and free. They circled our boat for a while, almost reveling in the attention of our cameras. Perhaps, the show lasted for 10 minutes. Perhaps, 20.

I am not sure. But that moment has lasted for 6 years.

And just like that, I feel better. Because if life could offer you that joy in the past, you can only hope it will return.

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