I LOVE reminiscing. I love memories. I love old movies and I adore film cameras. I think the past is a charming concept and thinking about it often makes me feel shorthanded by when I was born (#90skid). I think most people feel that the past was a better time; a simpler time. And while it may have been simpler, it certainly wasn't better. For anyone. And that thought can be dangerous for many reasons, but mostly because getting too caught up in the past can rob us of our present. Welcome to a short and super heavy rant.
The wish to return to simpler times is a frequent topic for conversation. It's like the weather or last night's game; it's easy to talk about and doesn't require any emotional commitment. It's easy to talk about how happy we were, how much easier we had it, and how little we had to worry about. And most of that is true; even as a 24 year old I find myself thinking of years past when I had far less commitments. But I'm also a believer that complexity in life actually creates more satisfaction. A life with purpose creates less of a need for "the good old days," because the present is always enough.
The good old days are a myth that allow us to exist in complacency in a very real, very fleeting here and now that is full of potential for those of us with our eyes open. It is important to hold on to a history, because what we've done and where we've been are important parts of our stories. But the ability to continuously create new experiences keeps us from idealizing our past to the point of personal fiction. The more we tend to who we are now, the less we warp who we were then. It is healthier to seek out new experiences and purpose than it is to watch our past on replay until it becomes something it wasn't.
Life is a series of hills and valleys, and often it's easier to dwell on the past than face the future. I'm not saying we should only exist in the present. The past and the future are important in their own way. But I am saying that I have seen people who only find joy in the past, who are unable to deal with the realities of the present, and who struggle to find happiness because of it. Remember your past, but always strive for a better present and future.