Someone from the future would love to be here

This morning in Historic Shanghai’s WeChat group I saw a photo from 1995 with People’s Square and the Shanghai Museum being constructed. When I see those photos I feel sad I wasn’t in Shanghai back then, thinking it would have been amazing (yet now impossible) to walk through those alleys now-gone, to talk to people now-old, and to eat their food now-different.

The question that arises in me is whether the people then looked at 24-year-old photos, from 1971, in the same way. Lamenting the loss of other lanes and dishes — believing that everything used to be more vivid — thinking that was the ‘real’ and ‘authentic’ Shanghai was gone.

Probably. I guess those places can only exist in our imagination, and part in the past. Will — in another 24 years — people from the year 2043 look my photos from 2019 and feel that same tinge of sadness as I do now? Probably. And it’s a good reminder to enjoy today for what it is. Someone from the future would love to be here.