You’re relaxing in bed and listening to your favourite songs, when all of a sudden, a memory from your school days pops up. You have no idea why it came up, but you find yourself looking back at it, reminiscing its activities, people, and thinking just how fast everything passes by. One thought leads to another, and you find yourself looking back at a rabbit hole of events you once lived through, only to realise how quickly the present you are in will soon become a memory too.
There’s a term for this realisation, Des Vu. Coined by John Koenig, he defines Des Vu as “the awareness that this will become a memory.” Time passes us faster than we can comprehend it. The present turns into the past in the blink of an eye. And the future we’re constantly anticipating is suddenly the present we’re walking in.
Our lives are a composition of numerous moments. Some that fade with time, some crystal clear as though we lived through it twice. The ones we do remember have the power to bring back emotions, emotions thought to be left in the past along with these moments. Some are moments that once brought us joy, while some are moments that filled us with anger. Some were moments that made us feel like we were at the top of the world, while some were of extreme heartbreak and hitting rock-bottom. And even though these are events of the past, there are times where we do find ourselves looking back on these.
Realising that every present we walk through will turn into a memory gives rise to unexplainable feelings. On one side, you’re more aware of how quickly things change or diminish, and you try and stop yourself from getting too attached or too invested, thus prohibiting yourself from living every moment to its fullest. On the other side, you want to experience everything as much as you possibly can. Hit pause on time so that the good moments feel everlasting and do not head in the direction of something bitter. But unfortunately, time doesn’t work that way. It’s like a train you’ll run to but always miss. Every moment we live through, from landing a spot in our dream university, your first job, the moment you seal the deal on your first house, a first kiss, or just anything for that matter. It will all turn into memories we once lived through.
The power of time is terrifying yet hauntingly beautiful. It gives us a deeper understanding of why even the seemingly insignificant parts of our lives always mean something. It opens our eyes to why we need to value what comes into our lives more. Whether these are opportunities or failures, the people we end up taking for granted, or even something as random as buying the last packet of your favourite chips at the store. With the uncertainty of what the next minute will bring, everything matters and everything makes a difference. We don’t know when a moment will end and turn into a memory. And more importantly, we don’t know when we will eventually turn into fading memories.