I had numerous feelings of déjà vu recently when my husband and I flew to Phoenix. From there we rented a car and drove to California to visit our daughter, then back to Phoenix to visit some friends there that we haven’t seen in a long, long time.

The déjà vu kept popping up because this was the same itinerary we had last November, when we had to cancel our plans after learning that a tree fell on our house and punched a hole in the roof. We basically had to do a U-turn on the interstate, head back to the airport, and catch the next available flight home to deal with the damage.

My first déjà vu on this trip came as we rushed through the airport on our way to pick up the rental car, and passed the area where we sat last November as we booked a new flight and tried—unsuccessfully—to find a hotel room for the night. More déjà vu came as we exited the airport and started the drive toward California, admiring the same stark, majestic scenery we saw last time, before the phone call came that changed our plans. I didn’t really feel like history was going to repeat itself, but I still couldn’t entirely shake off that waiting-for-the-other-shoe-to-drop feeling.

Once we got to our daughter’s apartment, everything was brand new and wonderful—including meals out at a few of her favorite restaurants, and a day in LA that included a visit to the LaBrea Tar Pits and a drive through the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

The visit with our friends in Phoenix was wonderful, too, with déjà vu—the good kind—in the form of resurrected stories and photos that took us back to our college days, each other’s weddings, and long-ago activities and adventures.

As we drove back to the airport, it occurred to me that the older I get, the more déjà vu experiences I’m likely to have—because at this point in my life, that feeling of “I think I’ve seen this/done this before” could be because I have “been there, done that,” whether it’s something that brings about a good feeling or a not-so-great one.

I’m going to start paying attention to how I feel whenever I get a sense of déjà vu. I hope that most will bring back fond memories of places I’ve been and things I’ve seen and done. And going forward in my life from here, I hope that any adventures and experiences yet to come will be the kind that generate good feelings of déjà vu when I look back at them from even farther into the future. That’s how I want to live the rest of my life.

And I don’t need a tree to fall on me to tell me that.

June 22, 2024
©Betty Liedtke, 2024

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