Do You Re-experience?
I was reading ‘More Fool Me’ by Stephen Fry and I seem to remember there was this one sentence where he suggested that it was a shame that people didn’t tend to re-read books because we will in time forget much of what they were about. This got me thinking about the difference between my partner and I. He will re-read books, re-play games or re-watch films on a regular basis. I’ve lost count of the number of times he’s completed Mass Effect for instance. I, on the other hand, tend to get through new experiences much more quickly than he does but can only boast having completed them one or two times.
Having to constantly find new experiences can be quite costly so It’s great to be able to find more worth in what we already own. There can also be so many little details that we’d miss if we only ever experienced something once. Some people also find new ways to improve the longevity of an experience (such as speed running or adding new challenges to a game) and seem to take great pleasure in knowing something inside out. My partner is the type of person who will read wikis or find additional material about a franchise to develop a deeper understanding. I wish I could do this too, but I have a tendency to grow bored and flit from one experience to another.
The way I see it is that there are so many things to enjoy in this world that I’d much rather spend my limited time finding new experiences rather than repeating the old ones over and over. Some experiences have left a large enough impact on me to return, but I also have many books, games and films that I’ve only gotten through once and then tossed aside. Sometimes I prefer to leave them as fond memories because on returning they may not live up to expectations; people can grow and change. I have vague recollections of experiences enjoyed during my childhood that I know wouldn’t be the same if I re-discovered them now. I also find that the first time I experience something is often the best time because I’m still open to the surprises on offer. As a result of this I often hesitate to complete books or games that I’m really enjoying because I want to savour them and will not be able to have that first experience again. I think my partner finds comfort in enjoying something that he already knows is going to be good, whereas I love that feeling of not knowing what is to come. I can get hooked on wanting to know what is going to happen next.
I do find the idea of experiences laying by the wayside a saddening thought though, especially when considering the amount of creative energy that goes into them. Even if we will continue to cherish the great pieces, there are many more that will eventually be forgotten to be replaced by new ones.