Some days, I’d rather live in the past than exist in my present. Nostalgia sweeps over me, as I soak in the memories of places and people from my earlier life. Though those days were not always happy, and I faced some downright desperate and depressing moments, through it all, I cling to them…because they’re mine. My memories. My history. My life.
Truth be told, I don’t fall into such states of nostalgia all that often anymore. I did more frequently in the past – when life wasn’t so full of stuff. But it’s still one of my favourite pastimes, when it does happen – often without intention.
I have this fantasy – which was probably inspired by movies or TV shows I’ve seen – where I could step into a time machine and go back in time. Observe moments from my past. Feel those feelings again. Experience the sights and sounds…repeat what has long since escaped with the endless march of time. It’s not simply observing. I wish to re-live those memories. Do it all again. But with the ability to step out – at any moment – and leave the story to play out as it should, without my future self’s interference.
So as a way of appeasing this impossible desire, I put it on my ‘Jannah list’ – a list of things I’d like to do if I get to Jannah (Paradise), God-willing. I’ll have all of Eternity, so it’s not like this fantasy will eat up valuable time, or deprive me of other experiences that I could have embarked upon instead.
Another set of things on my Jannah list is all the stuff I’d like to do in this life right now, but cannot (or do not – for whatever reason). Sport features heavily in that realm, because I grew up playing a lot (mostly informally), but then ceased almost completely after school. So I’m going to do a lot of that…and, just because Paradise is a limitless realm, I’m going to enhance it by partaking at the highest levels. I’ll play tennis at Wimbledon (because I long to play on a grass court); take part in the soccer World Cup; be a fast bowler in a cricket match at Kingsmead (my home stadium in Durban).
I’ll expand on my writing, and experience my full potential in poetry and prose. I’ll publish books and books of them, and the people of Paradise will read them and give me honest feedback. And I’ll write more still.
I know, by Islamic teaching, that Paradise is far beyond the realm of anything we can imagine. So even though my wishlist will probably be paltry next to the experiences that await, I still want to fulfill those wishes. These are emotional attachments that run deep within me…dreams which, God-willing, will come true.
And so, as I pass through life, confined within my own limitations and circumstances, my imagination keeps building this list. These future plans.
May I get the chance to fulfill them all, in that realm of infinite possibilities.
How about you? Do you dream of the impossible? Do you plan for an eternal future? What’s on your list?