Have you ever heard the Bruce Springsteen song “Glory Days”? It’s about a guy thinking back to High School, and how life was better then.
Why do some people glorify the past?
Was it things as simple as, they were younger, slimmer, more attractive?
Is it that things were cheaper?
Does it seem like there were less problems back in the day?
Or is it something else entirely?
This is one of those perception things: though one person might think that things were better ten years ago, another might think that things are better now. One might think that the advances socially, technology wise, environmentally etc far outweigh any nostalgic reminiscences. One might long for a world pre internet.
When we reflect back, we do it through our own individual lens: the movie that fast forwards in our mind are like a greatest hits collection. We hold onto memories that make us feel good. When we are feeling bad we go back and rewatch that highlights reel. To get us through today, we remember the good old days…
Is this bad?
I guess it depends on how often you are doing it.
If you hear a song that reminds you of your child as a baby and it makes you smile, this is a good thing. You remembered something happy. And then you got on with your life.
If you once had a great job or an interesting adventure, you might dip into the reserve to remember that period of time when you might have been the best there was at something. Maybe not THE best, but you got a high off the achievement or the adventure. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing to glorify, but that all depends on how you are handling today.
Then you have the people who refuse to live in the present. All of their conversation revolves around things from ten, twenty years ago. If you have decided to live in the past, well, this is probably not the mentally healthiest thing.
When we think about the past, we do it selfishly. We think about how the past treated us. Sometimes we remember the good things. Sometimes we remember the bad. Most often we remember both the good and the bad. We can’t help it. The past is a part of us that we can’t shake: the past made us into who we are today.
A few people recently asked me to do a Highlights post, where I list all the posts that I thought were my best. The idea of this made me a little sad, and a little angry.
To me, a highlights reel means that you think the best is behind you. It means that all you have to go on is your laurels.
While I am proud of my blog and my posts, I don’t really need to showcase them. My archives are available to anyone who wants to look into them. I’ve never reblogged or reposted something because, while I think I have done some good work, I think my best work, my best posts are still to come. I might love the post I write today, but I am still looking forward to the post I’m going to write tomorrow. I’m hoping my post tomorrow is better than today. I’m hoping this post is better than yesterday.
I look back at my old blogs and I smile. I think of how I have changed, how I have grown, how my outlook is slightly different. The memory loop is nice. It’s pleasant to look back at both the good and the bad moments. But I have worked hard to get to today…and I’m going to enjoy it.
Is the past something to glorify?
I do think things were simpler without twitter or pinterest or instagram. I don’t think I need as many choices of things as happens today- I do miss having only seven TV channels to choose from- now I rarely watch TV because it takes a phd in television to ascertain what is actually available to watch. But socially, we are in a better place- we are starting to become more tolerant of those whose lifestyles are different. We are starting to accept that gender, religion, race etc does not mean you are not qualified for something, that these things do not make you less than…
As with everything,, progress comes with plusses and minuses…the past comes with plusses and minuses.
The questions of the day
- Do you glorify the past?
- What thing of the past do you miss?
- What thing about the past do you not miss?
- Literally anything else I brought up in this post that made you think