Go Backwards to Move Forward

I was reading ‘Landline’ by Rainbow Rowell a fiction novel about a married woman, Georgie, who is struggling with her marriage and the relationship that she has with her husband and two daughters. She feels that her marriage is affected because she puts in a lot of time into her career as a scriptwriter chasing her dream of having her own show. So, when she had to make a choice between spending Christmas with her family in Omaha and staying behind working on her dream, she chose the latter. From then on, when her husband seemingly avoids her by not picking up her calls, she fell into a spiral of regret and pain thinking that she had caused her marriage to break. When she tried calling her husband through the landline at her mother’s house and her husband had picked up, she realised that it was her husband from the past, her husband from 17 years back during the ‘lost’ week where they had not spoken. The week before her husband proposed to her.

Hence, as I read this book, I remembered a quote from the Game of Thrones by Quaithe when she advised Daenarys in Qarth.

“To go north, you must journey south. To reach the west, you must go east. To go forward you must go back, and to touch the light you must pass beneath the shadow.”

What I understand from it is that for you to proceed on and lead your life, you have to recall your past and the lessons that you have learnt or, you have to look back at your past and remember the roots that you had built your life on.

So, in the case of the Georgie, Georgie looks back to her past and since it is a closed loop, — she cannot amend the past because it has already happened — she would have to remember and relive how much she cared and loved her husband. She would have to understand again how selfless her husband is and how did her husband came to love her. Thus, to move forward and understand that her marriage can still be saved, she has to go back and recall the love and understanding that both she and her husband had 17 years ago.

Sometimes we forget, we forget the things that brought us to where we are, we forget the promises that we made with our loved ones and the understanding that we had. We forget the mutual understanding a relationship is built on and thus, over time, we took advantage of that comfort like how Georgie had taken advantage of her husband’s selflessness. Therefore, it is important once in a while that we take the time to look back to our past, to revisit the time when we were actually happy, to the time when arguments and problems were something unthinkable so that we can move forward and fix the mistakes that have been made.


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