The past expands

I am having a major birthday this month.

My book club defines a major birthday as one that involves a change in decades. And, I do feel older. I also feel as if I should be grown up by now. But, if I’m grown up, why do old issues and old emotions keep creeping into my head?

“The past is beautiful because one never realizes an emotion at the time,” says Virginia Woolf. “It expands later, and thus we don’t have complete emotions about the present, only about the past.”

I wouldn’t categorize all of the past as “beautiful.” I would agree that it expands and keeps returning to haunt me—and that Woolf’s quote gives me a lot to think about.

I found that quote at the beginning of Tara Westover’s book Educated.

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