I started reading The Great Gatsby a few days ago. A day before I started F. Scott FItzgerald’s opus, I finished reading The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates. Out of pure coincidence, both novels are about life stories and lifestyles that are far different from my own. Both stories are great at delivering incite into microcosms of modern society that seem unbelievable. Gatsby digs into the workings of upper-class American society, and The Other Wes Moore informs the reader of the struggle of Americans in poverty.
You can’t really run away from the past. And much like a snowglobe, you can shake it up but you can’t jump into it and relive it. What’s done is done, you have let go and move on. Yet, as easy as those words are to write, they are definitely not easy to follow.
For one, the working world has a great way of reminding you of your checkered past. Forgiveness is in short supply when it comes to shady resumes. Furthermore, there is an inverse relationship between the people who see your shadow and the people who are able to forget it. Such is the brutality of our human brains and selfish hearts.
Both books also happen to show the dark side of the question, “If you had a chance would you take it?” Victory is sweet, but the sugar doesn’t last forever. Sometimes it won’t even taste like sugar. Perhaps it’s best, especially when looking back at our pasts with rose-colored glasses, to deny ourselves the reward and accept that with every little shake the snow globe becomes less alluring.
Life, after all, only goes one way.