“Live forever, for the moment” ~ The Spice Girls
Or, as defined by my dictionary
Forever (adv): without end, at all times
Cheating slightly as this blog is not about the term ‘forvever’ but actually the book:
Forever by Judy Blume is immortalised in the world of teenage fiction as the first encounter many have with sex, especially first time sex, betrayal heartbreak etc. I haven’t read this book for over 20 years and I can still quote lines from it. I’m not sure how much I learnt from it, aside from if you have a boyfriend it’s a bad idea to have sex with someone else after a grandparent’s funeral. However the main thing I did take from it is the line: “You can’t go back to holding hands.”
Within the context of the book, it does, of course, refer to sex and how it changes relationships. There are very few people who can have sex with someone and not have any future interaction with that person altered as a result. The initial kissing and holding hands stage is fabulous, excepting perhaps when you’re a virgin and a mass of hormones and torment, but there is also the anticipation and desire for more. Just when you do it, then you can’t go back to just that hand holding stage. There is, if you will bear with me, an loss of innocence that goes with the action.
The thing is, it’s a phrase that doesn’t just apply to sex, it applies to everything. I was pondering on it in terms of arguments. People argue; we argue with family, with friends, with a partner. A lot are just squabbles caused by passing discontent or even more deep-seated upsets but most blow over. Just sometimes, in the heat of the moment, an awful thing can be said. Something vicious and nasty that cuts like a knife. And even if both sides wish with all their hearts to make up and carry on, it will never be quite like it was, never back to the holding hands stage.
As is fairly well-known in the social media spheres I occupy, I have been both mentally and physically very unwell. For a time I desperately wanted to go back to one specific date and who I was and how I was at that point. I couldn’t tell you anything about that date, bar what day of the week it was. I don’t know if I was in work, what I ate, who I spoke to, if I went out in the evening. All I know is it is the day before things happened that are forever etched on my memory as things that changed my life irrevocably. I only started to get better when I realised I could never go back. What had happened had happened. I was still me, just a different me to then. The only way was forwards and I had to accept it all, not keep seeking to change it, not keep wishing to go back.
The nature of our world is that it keeps turning. The sun keeps rising. We keep getting older. We are, whether we like it or not, caught in an inevitable state of going forward. And that’s ok. Yes, we can all, I believe, be kinder to each other, maybe guard against those nasty words and actions, savour what there is in a relationship before leaping to the next stage. You can’t go back to holding hands. But you can accept what has happened and move on, not seeking to change it and wishing it was different. Just accepting that you’re holding hands a little differently to how you were before.
NB: I will not name the person who suggested the Spice Girls lyric. They know who they are and will be FOREVER shamed by it.