“The past is not dead. It is not even past.” These were the words of the late William Faulkner, one of the most brilliant literary minds of the 20th century. Like all of his work, these words have stood the test of time and still ring true to this day. Most people live with a “Carpe Diem” mentality, seize the moment, live every day as if it’s your last. In TV shows and movies we are made to dream up scenarios of grand gestures, of leaving your life behind to pursue a wild fantasy, dreams of flying off into the great unknown of limitless joy and contentment. Quit your boring office job, kiss that girl you’ve had a crush on for years in the middle of the street, walk through the Alaskan wilderness and live off of nature for a year, sing atop a float in a city- wide parade, be quirky, be weird, be different. This is perpetuated by a person’s fear of being left out, of missing moments, as well as the pressure society puts on us to appear as though we aren’t wasting our life away. So we give in. We end up sharing to the world every minor detail of our lives decorated with amusing captions, funny quips and genuine or fake enthusiasm just so others think you are interesting and happy. This need to fill our days with highlights and pretend that lowlights do not exist. This is a risky mindset to have. It is unhealthy and forces a person to fill this void with mindless events that may or may not be beneficial in the long run. It is addictive, you start to need it more for necessity and no longer as a want that you are fine with having or not, depending on its availability and the good or harm it provides to you as a person. Faulkner wished to make people rethink that type of outlook and to imagine life like a circle, instead of a line. Instead of a beginning, a middle, and an end, he challenges you to take apart this construct and to build upon it an overlapping set of sequences almost like a sphere. Imagine a plane departing from New York City and landing in Beijing, at the same time a plane is departing London and landing in Johannesburg. Life is essentially an imbricated map of mundane, delightful, routine, exciting, and normal incidents that dictate the rest of your life by extracting valuable information and lessons from different stages of your existence. He believes that the past is not merely what has previously occurred years prior, not what took place last month, not last week, not yesterday, not even a minute ago. The past is whatever has been before this very second. Before you think about it, that second has passed and you now live in that second’s future. It is never-ending, it ceases to acknowledge the existence of a present, only what has been and what you do with all you’ve assimilated from what you’ve been. This is what shapes you, what makes you who you are, what eventually guides you towards the future. The past isn’t just the person who got her heart broken 3 years ago, nor is it just the person who was afraid to fall in love again a month ago, it is both those people as well as the person who says “I do” at the altar in a beautiful white dress to the man she loves 5 years from now. You are simultaneously all of those people, while at the same time the very person existing at this very moment. This does not guarantee that the past’s ability to determine the course you take to be a hundred percent accurate. Often it is peppered by what one chooses to include in the narrative. Memory of the past can be fickle, inconsistent or unpredictable. It is subject to interpretation not only by you, but also of the people who were around you when these memories were made. A walk in the park with your lover on a September afternoon is in itself a pleasant memory. A memory that can be made more special by the lover’s own retelling of how soft your hand was when he held it, of how he remembers a joke that made you snort while the two of you sat on a bench and how he teased you about it until you turned red from embarrassment. What once was just a nice little memory for you has now become exceptional because of how you’ve now seen it through another person’s perspective. That same memory despite its sweetness may become bittersweet, if after a decade you run into that same lover of yours from the past. The two of you exchange pleasantries and try to catch up, laughing at your young selves, but at the back of your mind that walk in the park starts to make you feel a little melancholic. You smile yet it never quite reaches your eyes. You give each other a tight hug and go on your separate ways. You are both comforted and dispirited by the encounter because of what it all has meant to you. One must not look at what has been and treat all of the rich life experiences as a distant memory. One is to take all the happiness, the pain, the hardships, the celebrations, take each and every single one of those and wear them proudly like badges on a 5-star general’s uniform. From time to time, you may look at your reflection, admire these badges, become tearful at one or two, furious at another, and have a huge smile on your face at the rest, ultimately you are relieved and satisfied and comforted by the fact that you are who you are right now because of who you were and who you will become.