It has always baffled me how in films when they want to show a passing of time or a phase in someone’s life, there is often a pattern—five or six activities. They will either quickly get better or worse at them in the spirit of time. Of course, it depended on the context in which direction they swayed. There will be a B-roll in between, showing some scenery or clouds. Then, we met the new times, the new person, almost within a couple of minutes. By saying this, I don’t intend to insult any filmmakers. It takes immense effort to condense life honestly into a few minutes, to show without telling as they say. But, I want to point out how we tend to think our lives will work similarly.
In real life, things work differently. We often forget it when we walk out the theatre, ecstatic, inspired, enchanted with what life has to offer. In life, when you start working for something, it isn’t a montage of two minutes; you live the months, or if you’re unlucky, like most are: decades. I disagree with the adage: life passes in the blink of an eye. Life passes slowly; it burns. It’s memory that is fickle. Like a good system of keeping records, memory can roll things up and make them feel smaller, merely because the days were unchanged, but the days were there! You lived the days. It was difficult, and sometimes, impossible, but memory does not recall it. Memory recalls how you were a child two seconds ago, and now, you worry about honouring your bills or trying hard to be the child again. All adulthood was a path back to what we did as children.
The emotional transition in films is often stirring, but I believe we often forget how slowly emotions change, how life vacillates between grief and joy and drudgery, and how they return. Oh, how they return. I still miss my dog four years after he left us. I miss the sound of his paws on the floor. The echo returns like all echoes should. I don’t grieve him now, but sometimes, the missing is different. I feel what I felt when he left us. It is how life works; we must recognise it. We have to live all the days over and over before things change remotely. To live life is to go through the days slowly; to remember it is to forget them.