The Eyes Have It

Blame Throwback Thursday and Flashback Friday.

I have been browsing through pictures of my previous self along with earlier renditions of family and friends.

My sisters and I have a healthy storehouse of photo-memories, thanks to parents who have always valued photography and photo-journaling.

A little over a year ago my parents gave me a jump drive treasure trove of my past. (It was a gift for a significant – ahem – birthday.)

Hundreds of old images.

In these pictures of my previous self, it is the eyes that draw me in.

I look into those eyes – my own eyes – and try to remember what I might have been thinking in that moment.

What was my perspective on the world?

How did I measure the world around me?

I’m still that person, but time makes it hard to remember the moment-of-the-photo without the filters of what I have experienced and learned since.

We live each moment of life through its own unique lens.

Through that moment’s lens.

We knew what we knew.

We didn’t know what we didn’t know.

So I return the gaze.

I stare back into the eyes of yester-me, knowing more about the world and through today’s filter.

That 12-year-old girl didn’t know she would live and study in Europe.

That toddler had no idea she would suffer a miscarriage.

That co-ed could not anticipate the events of September 11th.

That high school senior was not aware that she would have a son who would be fascinated with Japanese culture.

That baby didn’t know her future husband wasn’t born yet, but would be born a few years later in the same hospital where she made her arrival into the world.

“If I just knew then what I know now,” we tell ourselves.

But it doesn’t work that way.

We live in the moment.

That’s the way it is meant to be.

We take pictures to mark the moments.

And then, years later, we look back, gaze into our own eyes, and try and remember how it felt to be that person, at that time, in that place.

The present moment will then reclaim our focus.

And our eyes – those same eyes – will look out into the world.

Through the lens of its own day.

Looking to the future, without knowing what it will be.

Photos from across the years. Eyes.

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