NYT Prompt 007: It’s a Coping Mechanism

Prompt: Do you wish you could return to moments from your past?

Who doesn’t? Part of being human is acknowledging and accepting the fact that we are not perfect; we all make mistakes and we all suffer in one form or another. As we grow and mature, we must also face not only our mortality, but also that of our loved ones. Too often, I find myself longing to travel back in time, if only to look upon the visages of my dearly departed friends and family members. There are times I wish I could ask my grandmother for advice, or simply unload my stresses and anxieties upon her. I wonder what she’d say or how she’d advise me to deal with a certain issue. I think of her every day, I miss her so much.

Sometimes, I wish I could travel back to a moment in which I made a pivotal decision, such as putting video games over homework. Because we are human and make mistakes, we end up going through life with a lot of “what ifs.” We ask ourselves how things could have gone differently; did we make the best choice?

Other times, my desire to return to moments from the past stems from a natural human defense: the flight or fight response. As a young woman dealing with severe mental illness and suffering from ulcerative colitis, there are days when I simply do not wish to face the world. Whether I’m in too much pain, too sick, or simply stressed out and emotionally drained, too often I tend to reminisce on the simpler, healthier times of my childhood. This desire stems from my wish to escape the challenges and responsibilities of adulthood.

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