Everywhere we look we are reminded of the past. Whether it be through the faces of those implanted in your memories, the music that drifts you back to a place you once thrived, or the photos and memorabilia that we refuse to hand over to the tides of time.
As the days move forward, your mind can feel like its pulling two steps behind, urging you to live through the eyes of your past self. Reminding you of how things used to be; how you used to feel when the sun greeted you those shining mornings. Its as if the remnants of those days, in which you grinned with no cause, they wrap around your neck; a pendant with a shimmering jewel of past emotions bonded around your collar.
This battle that we face, as we attempt to convince ourselves that our lives are in-fact wonderful at this very moment, only teeters on the brink of defeat due to how we conceive our past. And I must say, finding yourself in this position — its a blessing, as this can only mean one thing — you have made peace with the time that has forgone.
To be able to do so, is a quality that exists in so few. The burden that this uncertainty places on your soul; the forceful destruction of the irreplaceable time that has guided you to who you are today, is truly unfortunate. Partaking in the endeavor of exploring your past, and walking away satisfied, is the equivalent of looking upon yourself in the mirror, and having faith in what you see. Because the person in front of your eyes, is a result of that time, and to be at peace with your past, is to be at peace with yourself.
Even with this faith however, as you walk into the unknown of adulthood, you begin to learn of the fantasy that has disguised itself as real life. Every child grows up differently, but from the perspective of a boy who was given every tool to succeed, our lives up until this point have been a dream. To wake up with the opportunity to learn of a subject that I’ve chosen. To waste my free time away as I please, with no repercussions other than those that are self-inflicted. To look upon the weekend, and think to myself, “what is the most absolute fuckin’ awesome thing I can do in the next 3 days?” And most importantly of all — enjoying the singular time in my life that I can and I want to be selfish. Our worries are slim to none.
And yet I find myself constantly looking back to 3 years ago as a freshman in college, where I tell myself everything was so much better. When in reality I couldn’t even sleep most nights because I couldn’t find a place to call home, let alone find a moment to enjoy the countless hours of free time I had. And at that point I was looking back at my senior year where even still, “things were more simple” because I used to get trashed every day and walk into school with the ego of a king, as I looked ahead absolutely terrified to leave the place in which I’ve spent my whole life. And so it trickles down.
Why we remember the past better than it was, is a mystery to me, and it has remained a philosophical dilemma since the dawn of time. We look back at an event, or an experience with someone, or a specific time in our lives, and we recall the memory. We remember the first time we drank with our pals, or going to a concert years ago, or pulling back the faded smiles of an old relationship. We picture ourselves at the top of our ladders — thriving, smiling, genuinely happy.
The simple truth, that we look back, and remember things better than they were.
This is not to say that those emotions and feelings weren’t real, but we wonder why we fail to feel the same emotions now. As time has passed, what was once so great, has lost its light. Who was once so valued in your heart, could never make you feel the same way.
What we fail to see, is that as you grow into an adult and the vault of your experiences expand beyond what your mind can constrain, the things that once left you in awe, simply are not as impressive. When you’re 3 years old, and your mother plays peek-a-boo with you, you laugh until your face shrivels with tears. But then when you’re 5, the game fails to drag your attention. Why should this concept act any differently when you’re grown?
Because of this alteration in enjoyment, the constant desire for something new sifts through the minds of young adults. We’ve reached a point in which the majority of us have experienced the common endeavors in life, so I think this desire is a wonderful feeling that too many of us ignore. That itch inside your bones you experience when you see pictures of the coast of Italy, or the adrenaline that begins to creep up on you when you hear of a close friend sky-diving for the first time.
And when you are constantly reminded by the old and wise to, “Enjoy your youth”, and then upon finishing your conversation you plop yourself onto your couch — you feel like you’re missing out on something. And that’s because we are. This isn’t the same kind of “FOMO” that kids speak of when they’re doing homework on a Friday night instead of face planting into a bottle of whiskey. This is the fear of losing the ability to do as you please. Whether this ability is lost due to health, or believed to have been lost to your 9 to 5 job. Whatever it may be — the fear of not being free, is a terror that has stricken my soul.
Right now, is the time in our lives in which we should be placing our energy into discovering what we love, where we love, and who we love. Because coming soon — the shackles of what the United States calls, “The American Dream”, will be gripped around our ankles, and time will no longer be our loosest flowing asset.
Take to the skies and discover somewhere new. Drift to the people that intrigue you, and ease away from those that never surprise you. Do more of what you love, and if you don’t know what you love to do, then do it all. We are free to explore, we are free to succeed, and we are free to fall. In this moment, time is on your side, and like the simple endeavors you once loved, it will turn against you.
Though I truly believe that the past will almost always appear better than it was, that does not give us an excuse to sit back and drown in the essence of our remenitions. Too reconcile with this argument is the true victory. To enter your past and restore the wonderful, priceless memories of old, and to use those in order to build upon the present. To live in the now, with not a burden of old faces, and expired thoughts, but with gratitude for the time that has ticked, and the realization that at this moment in time, we are living in the good ole’ days.