Just saw the movie Ten Years. It’s your typical high school movie, except 10 years later. You have all the high school dynamics played out in a reunion: two guys fighting over a girl, discovery that the popular girl actually has a vulnerable side, or the school bully portrayed as a tool. It was an OK movie, but it did get me thinking.
Everyone in the movie was excited to go to their reunion, to relive their glorious (was it really that glorious?) past. And I suppose people look upon their past with such fondness; and I do too, I guess. The truth is that I don’t think about my past all that often. And even if I do, it’s not for very long. Maybe some deeper psychological analyzing would reveal that I’m actually running from my past, but I’ve always just been more interested, invigorated, and excited by the future…or at least future possibilities.
To me, the past exists purely to service the present and future. I think this for a few reasons. One, you’ll never be able to repeat your past in the same way you remember it no matter how hard you try. Change is inevitable, no matter how much you think you resemble your mom or dad. You’re just a different person, and the world is different. This leads me to my second reason. The past isn’t real anymore. All that matters is your present and future, because that’s all you’re able to experience unless your name is Doc Brown or Marty McFly.
But the past isn’t lost on any of us. It can, and should, have a profound influence on us. But…it’s how we use Past’s services that make all the difference. Sometimes our nostalgic feelings lead us to want to repeat the past…which is a mistake. Past is best served by taking its morals, lessons, and example to aid us in the present and the future.
Put the past behind you, because if it’s standing in front of you it’ll only be in the way.