Having favourites

Bad for people. No one wants to be left out. But good for things? Absolutely. Because one of the ways we appreciate those delights, those moments, is by having ones we can go back to, time after time. A favourite repays. It becomes the moment anew, in the reexperiencing.

Watching a favourite film today. It’s someone else’s favourite – and one of mine. We both care about the points when the hero seems so far away from his goal. And the points where he gets there. Where he learns that it’s partly about how you see yourself. We are both delighting, right there, even though we know the dialogue, when the funny bits will come along.

I’ve noticed that quite a lot of the items for my box of delights are favourites. Maybe current ones, maybe ones from way back. They already have a positive connection for me. I’ve been slightly surprised how many are rooted in past delights, earlier moments that were special, and that my brain likes to remind me were good.

As we go on in life, there are probably more reexperienced moments, fewer new ones. I’ve written on that already this month, but that’s reexperiencing for you… 😉 Maybe what gets to be new is sharing them with new people, taking that item out of our box of delights, and passing it over to be admired, hopefully.

What we are also giving is ourselves, our clarity of being at the point when we experience something we love. We are giving ourselves as we would like to be, more of the time.

It doesn’t always happen, but when kids like what their parents like, I believe part of it is because of how the kid experiences a fresh aspect of their parent – a person who experiences joy, and who is so caught up with it that it conveys that to someone new.

I can think of my parents’ favourites in some areas – how their expressions would change if they suddenly came across those favourites. The smell of woodsmoke. Of honeysuckle.

As I experienced the pleasure of seeing them particularly happy, their favourite jumped into my memory too. Now I come across these scents for myself, and enjoy the two together.

Just as I have these joys, I have the other option: the points when a new person experienced a joy for the first time, and my enjoyment of being with them right then. It may be one of my happy things too, it may be something completely new – it doesn’t matter.

What matters is that, in that enjoyment, they claim it for themselves. And I claim it too, remembering their joy, and mine at seeing them caught up in that experience.

When we come across these triggers for joy again, time stops still. In those memories, whether wholly ours or connected with someone else, we and they are present. We and they take on a permanence in the remembering, even if that moment of remembering is soon past.

And where we are sometimes distant from those other people – distant in space as well as of course over time – it becomes a way to be together again. It’s time travel without a tardis. And it’s as available as those triggers.

The longer we live, the longer we are with others, the more times we and they experience joy – the more we have an unexpected storehouse of experiences, memories. Happy things. Favourites. They are ours and they are shared, and we are more than ourselves, both in the moment, and in the remembering.

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