We can look forward to no longer being where we have not even arrived. A good reason not to go there.
If the Greeks imagined the underworld river Lethe as washing us clean of all memories, we can wallow in the waters of soul-wrenching loss in romantic agony when faced with the mere possibility of a beautiful or exciting encounter.
Better not sing to me, grey nightingale! What if your song touched my tender sensibilities?
Better not let me help you, suffering stranger! What if I became attached to helping others?
We’d better stick with the fact that this is a tough world and then trust in the shallow waters of forgetfulness of what we have done. Another form of romanticism in this: finally fainting into a blackout, somewhere in the underground holy waters for the righteous, the highly competitive.
After all, those are the only two choices, face the possibility of eternal nostalgia or make sure that we will be glad to forget who we were.
(Never mind the delighted anticipation of the child too excited about today to worry, too young to be addicted to dark pangs of nostalgia or wishing for the guilty grace of forgetting.)