This spring break we did some traveling. One of the places we visited was Prague in the Czech Republic. An amazing city with hundreds of years of history. In one section you'll find castles and cathedrals dating back to 14th and 15th century. In other areas you'll see cold lifeless architecture stemming from the communist era that ended less then two decades ago. The aspect of Prague I loved was the abundance of beautiful, picture perfect vantage points. Its difficult to explain a view, but the way the city is laid out makes for an amazing sunset. Almost mesmerizing.
I've been to Prague before. I came in college. It was one of my first big adventures. We took night trains, slept in hostels, had absolutely no money, and had a blast. I came to Prague this time remembering those same views I described above. I Remembered standing on the Charles Bridge on the last night of our visit and looking up toward the old czar's castle and thinking there wasn't a more perfect moment in the world. It was more then a view, it was a frame of mind and the only word to describe the memory is "romantic." Not romantic as in pertaining to love, but romantic as in being dominated by emotion. Being overwhelmed by a view. Overtaken by a moment.
This time around we also had a lot of fun. We went with some friends and really had a great opportunity to relax and enjoy the uniqueness of the city. An old city in a new country. It's all very exciting. I was excited to see some of the same views and experience the same moments that so impacted me in college. I visited the same spots and again was quite taken back by the amazing view. The sunset was no less breathtaking. I was flooded with memories and nostalgia from the adventures of college. It brought a smile to my face. The emotion just wasn't there though. Not sure why. Probably had a lot to do with the situation. Traveling wasn't new to me anymore. There wasn't quite the adventure in it. Contributing factors.
It made me sad. Sad because I realized that more then just one instance this reaction was becoming more and more a typical response. There are so many things in life to think about, that require our attention. The less essential things like sunsets and cityscapes don't capture us. Don't trigger the emotion. Don't overwhelm us with optimism like they used to. We're not as easily overtaken by a moment.
So, I guess this is the natural progression. But it still makes me sad. It also makes me think that life is tough. I can't think of any other reasons why things tend to turn out this way. No one would intentionally choose to turn off the part of themselves that would be captured by something beautiful.
I think life kind of beats it out of us. I used to get my feelings hurt a lot when I was a kid. My parents used to say I was sensitive and it was a good thing (hard to believe in 4th grade), but it was good. I felt and thought deeply for someone so young. Life convinced me otherwise, however. Kids don't appreciate such characteristics. Life toughened me up. Makes things hurt less. Makes you feel less too. Tough consequences.