Five years have passed since you read Tony Robbins and became motivated to go into sales. The company that took you from a callow History major with no professional experience or internship and made you their Senior Communications Quality Control Analyst then took another chance on you and sent you to San Francisco. Those pictures of you and your on-and-off-again girlfriend, and your flight to SF–they are over five years old now. It’s been five years since the start of the “new you” and most people these days treat you like an “old you.”
Happy moments of success in life are these anomalous spikes and maybe human life is, too. You wake up wishing you were a redwood tree.
It was only a few days into the past, though. Most of the people you’ve hurt in life are scarred for life or already dead, and there isn’t much you can do to change things. Since you haven’t been following sports, the lottery or the stock market, you can’t even think of one prediction you could bet on to make decent money.
You were trying to time travel back two decades, and hoped to wake up inside your body of age 14. It’s disappointing that you only time traveled three days into the past, but it’s a start.
This is a weird feeling, to discover one day that all the things you used to do and say to help you gain your membership with the cool gang are things that now irritate people and make you look immature and possibly in possession of a developmental disorder.
Your new therapist doesn’t want to be your friend, either.
Your makeup has smeared, and your dress is wrinkled. Your eyes are red, and your hair is frizzy and tangled. An Oasis video is playing on the telly.
“Hurry,” she says, “There are some cute guys I want to meet down at the club.”
Hadn’t you just fallen asleep with one of those cute guys from the club a little while ago? Oh, right, that was 17 hours ago. Are you a time-traveling princess, or just a blackout queen? What happened to the guy you were with, anyway?
No matter, you hardly remember his face, and may very well be on the verge of repeating an identical version of last night. University is fun.
How did you get this way? Three years ago, you were the high school weightlifting champion, and you played a lot of golf. Even last year, you were still hitting the gym and swimming, sometimes running a few laps around the indoor track. Your student ID gets you all the free meals you want at the Burger Shack on campus, and your friends encourage you to binge drink and perform keg stands almost every night. You are now quite fat, and so is your once-hot girlfriend.
You go back to sleep, hoping to sweat off a few pounds in the bed you share with her.
Except, you remember most everything that happened to you before you traveled back in time from the age of 38. Your kid sister, whom you teased mercilessly until she committed suicide, is still alive. So is your father, who drank himself to death shortly thereafter. Also, your older brother who was doing life in prison, and your mother who was doing life in a mental institution. Of course, you were doing life in a hell of guilt and self-pity before you made this time travel leap.
Oh! you cry. Perhaps I can be like one of those childhood prodigies who get good at math and stuff real young, then become concert pianists with PhDs by the time they are 20. Joyfully, you leap from bed and run off to pull your little sister’s hair.
And, like the last time you were at the university, you have already slept through most of the semester. You’ve already had to drop one class because you were always too drunk or hungover or sleepy to attend. Now, you discover another class whose first big test you’ve already missed. What makes you even sadder is the fact that the girl standing outside the class before it starts says some very cool things about the professor and the class.
You wake up sad, because this dream may be a metaphor for life. At least you’ve remembered to buy more milk for your coffee.