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On the Subject of Past Lives

A friend asked me yesterday what I thought of past lives. I have to admit I'd not given it much thought, but I do find it amusing that many people think they were someone famous - Joan of Arc, Catherine the Great, Napoleon. I want to know who were the poor saps who had to clean out Henry the Great's bedpans, or the person who pulled the cart around to pick up the dead during the Black Plague?

Yes, I do fantasize about what it would have been like to grow up in the post-WWII era, in the 50's with the big band musicians and fashion. I would love to have been one of Rosemary Clooney's back-up singers, touring across America and on USO shows.

However I think often it's a matter of not being content with the life one has now, and hoping that a past life was better.

Sometimes I have memories so vivid, of a house or people that is so three-dimensional that I awaken with an aching longing feeling sense. Were these real places in my life, lost loves?

I think I spend more time wondering not "What was?" but "What if?" -- alternate paths of my current life. It's not hard -- I see the regret in an old love's eyes, as I say goodbye everytime we part from a social event. Knowing that a lie told by another profoundly affected our lives, and had it not happened it's quite possible we would be growing old together with a houseful of children.

Would I have gone to college though? Would I have stayed in college the first time round, instead of expressing my freedom from the discontent at home by drinking and cutting classes? I really don't know.