Isn’t it fun to talk about the “old times?” My husband and I can spend hours talking about our lives as children and comparing and contrasting our experiences. Often, my memories involve dear loved ones who are no longer with us here on Earth.
Interestingly, some of my best memories are those featuring my children as little boys. A parent never ever grasps the concept that in a few short years, your dependent, adorable and sometimes frustrating children will be grown up. Conversely, as children, our parents sometimes remain stuck in our minds as the middle-aged people we knew in the past.
This kind of reminiscing can be fun and sentimental, but a person can get mired in thoughts of the past, wishing for today to be more like “then” or feeling depressed that those people who played such significant roles in our lives have passed.
I suppose I have always been a forward-thinking person. I never was one of those parents who clung onto my children’s babyhood, saved tons of baby clothes or worse, posted tons of embarrassing kid pictures of them on social media. It’s natural to fondly remember the sweet smell of their hair, their chubby feet or the pride you felt watching them play sports. It’s also normal to remember grandmothers, parents or others.
My forward-thinking personality has protected me from going through life feeling as if the past was the best part of my life and that the future is hopeless. For every pang of sadness knowing I will never bear a child again also comes a hope and plan for a future that is completely different, yet equally satisfying in its own way.
This hasn’t come without sacrifice. I believe if I hadn’t made a huge life change in my 40’s, I might feel differently about the future. Taking my future in my hands and basically creating a new one has shown me that life is not just fate and happenstance. It’s up to you to lovingly and carefully place the past in a fancy box to be opened occasionally. I find that opening that box when I am feeling down is not a good idea.
The past ten years have seen many, many changes and challenges that I did not anticipate. Life seems more difficult now than it did 20 years ago. If we are honest with ourselves, even the rose-colored past had its share of sadness, grief, and difficulties. That’s the paradox. Love the past and cherish it for the memories it holds but don’t romanticize it. Take what was good and see if you can replicate that into your present life. It just might turn out better than you could have imagined.