As I’m sitting here listening to “The Mamas & The Papas” themed Pandora station, all this music from the 60′s and 70′s got me thinking….what is it about the past that makes us miss it? I mean, in a general sense, don’t we often wish things were “the way they used to be?” On the surface, it’s very easy to miss our past. It’s easy to think “man, life used to be so much simpler.” People love to tell stories of great memories from the past, and often reference those times as “The Good ‘ol Days.” Could it possibly be that because we tend to cherish memories from the past, we often forget the not-so-cherished moments that we’d like to forget?
I would suppose that there can be an argument that the past was “better” in many aspects than the here and now. Music seemed to be better. Families were closer. Movies and TV were more wholesome. Violence and crime were down, and God was in the forefront of more people’s minds than He is today. In essence, life was simpler. Values meant more to people. Less was more. Less technology to steal our time. Less of a hectic world to distract us from the real qualities of life. As we continue to evolve as a society, I know that I personally feel like I’m running 100 mph in every different direction with less and less time to stop and reflect on the blessings of life – both good and bad. In a world that has become as easily accessible as the snap of a finger, I often wonder if I’ve made myself too dependent on the ability to have what I want when I want it.
I do know that we are never going to separate ourselves from our past, good or bad, but we can learn from it. After an embarrassing mistake at work a few years ago, I had a great boss tell me “The only mistakes we make are the ones we make twice.” What a statement! How often do we miss the opportunity to learn from our own experiences as well as the experiences of others? As Jesus was the only one to ever live a perfect life, it would be foolish of me to think I can cruise through this world believing I have the perfect formula for a shameless life. I know now that if I’m willing to humble myself to my own shortcomings, I have the opportunity to make the past a tool for a better me moving forward.
So I guess my conclusion is…..I have no conclusion. Were things really better the way they used to be, or have we unintentionally crafted our minds believe so? It is human nature for us to not want life to end, and as we get older, we start to reminisce of all the wonderful experiences we’ve had. We quite possibly allow ourselves to block out the bad, cherish the good, and think of those wonderful moments as better than today. The irony of it all is that everyday we continue to create the past with each passing day, just as we had back when things were “the way they used to be.”
The reality of a topic so silly in many aspects is the underlying thought that keeps entering my mind. We can choose to understand that each day we live will be a thing of the past. While we cannot change what’s in the past, we can make a conscious effort to create a better past by making better decisions today. :)