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?

Yes.

No.

Maybe.

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.

Why?

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

  1. Do you glorify the past?
  2. What thing of the past do you miss?
  3. What thing about the past do you not miss?
  4. Literally anything else I brought up in this post that made you think

Discuss:

87 thoughts on “Glory Days

  1. Do you glorify the past? NO
    What thing of the past do you miss? My mother’s baking, lemon meringue pie in particular
    What thing about the past do you not miss? There were no decent hair care products for naturally curly hair
    Literally anything else I brought up in this post that made you think. What’s with someone who refuses to live in the present then only gets in touch with me to tell me when someone has died? I call that weird.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I think you hit it on the head when you talked about glorifying the past to help us get through tough times. It’s certainly true for me. As you said, and I paraphrase, it’s not the only reason we tend to glorify the past, but it’s certainly one of them.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Yesterday, I literally thought of reposting some old material but with how I’d do it now.

    Anyway, you sound a little bitter about this idea of Glory Days. The past, historically, was better (depending how far you go) in things like, say, family values (as a whole) or having a job that could support a family (depending on if you were male and worked a good job and had a family). Things like smallpox and polio? Not so much. 😀

    I know where you’re coming from, though. People drive me crazy constantly reposting their wedding pictures and those of their young children. I know they miss those days, but it’s unhealthy to fixate and not move on. It’s especially so if you’re not trying to move on (like you said).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The fixation is the problem. Personally, I don’t know if there were ever family values, because I see a lot of screwed up adults who can’t get part their childhoods. Personally, I think what has screwed us up today is the belief that we are supposed to be friends with our children and that they should “like” us.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Wouldn’t say I glorify the past, but I do catch myself reminiscing on a regular basis. Little things trigger memories, both good and bad. I think that’s natural as you pointed out. Someone who lives in the past, desires the good old days…I always wonder if the grass really does seem greener as they look back or if they perhaps just have issues that have never been dealt with and are still unable to acknowledge. The talk is almost endless about how great an experience was, or something along those lines. What about all the not so great times. Have they moved past or not?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you hit on an excellent observation…have people moved on? I think this what I think about most when I think about this topic…have they accepted things in this life? Have they chosen to move on? There’s nothing wrong with recalling the past, but only if you’ve moved forward

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  5. I’m usually a “live for today” kind of person. Sure, I’ll look back at certain things for a variety of reasons, but I don’t hang out there. The one trait that bothers me the most about my Hubby is that he tends to need to rehash certain things (usually family drama that I’m so done with) over and over again. I have to remind him that that is over and done and it is time to move on, but there is something about those things that he just can’t let go of. It make it difficult for me completely let go of those things because they are constantly being brought up. As for my blog, since so much of it is photography or art, I do reshare those images here and there. Part of that is because I sometimes need the reminder that I’m capable of producing things that I’m actually proud of, usually when the self doubt voice in my head gets a little too loud. Other times it is because I’m referencing something or attempting to give context to something new. None of those things is about trying to relive something or hanging on to some rose colored memory.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with doing a compare/contrast thing. I had thought about doing shots of nyc from a year ago vs now. That’s not really glorifying though. That’s a journalistic stance in a way. But to your other point…my father in law brings up things from the part constantly…things he hasn’t gotten over. While we have to deal with the past, we need to actually deal with it. Rehashing isn’t dealing…it’s an excuse. Very fine line

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I sometimes delve into nostalgia on my blog, more to do with memories and fashions and lifestyles…..but there are pluses and minuses of any stage of life. Older people tend to dwell in the past more, as they have less to look forward to. (including many of us during the pandemic) I so share your description of why you don’t watch much tv. I long for the days when there were fewer channels but better quality shows..and you knew when they came on….and the TV Guide was printed on paper…..not something you had to scroll through 700 channels online in order to find something to watch…..only to find it numbing and soul less and ultimately a waste of time.

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    1. I just can’t spend an hour looking fir a show to watch! Sometimes I actually let Netflix choose my show! How sad is that? Or I stream reruns of a sit com I like. Too many choices sucks the joy out for me!

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Something your post reminded me of: When I was in high-school, a teacher told my junior English class that “These are the very best years of your life. Enjoy them.” I didn’t believe her for a second, since high-school was something I couldn’t wait to leave. Later that year, a girl in our class committed suicide. I always wondered if she took that teacher’s words to heart and thought, “if this is the best it will ever be, why bother?” For every person I know who looks back fondly on their high-school experience, there are ten who say they wouldn’t relive those days for anything. Happily, life has proved my English teacher wrong.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. It’s like when people say their wedding day is the best day ever! What then does that make the marriage? It’s all downhill after that? I’m fine with today. Excited for tomorrow

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I think the fixation on the past is caused by people feeling so powerless to live the way they want to in the present. They look back and think they had a good life then, but now they don’t and so they want to go back in time . A lot of it is fear of not being able to keep up with such rapid changes and also resistance to anything that could require them to change because they need that sense of sameness to feel safe. Asking people to change implies that they aren’t acceptable the way they are now. So this causes resentment and refusal to even consider new things. It can also be simple laziness and not wanting to keep working, some would rather coast on past accomplishments . Retirement is a big goal for many. And not to have free time to continue growing and living , but to do nothing but entertain themselves . An entire industry has been built to make money off people who prefer to live in the past. I used to look back at my younger years with nostalgia, but I have let it go . I think it’s better to live in the present and try to make it a life you want. Time keeps going and if you don’t , you aren’t really living . I think this is part of the general “checking out” of reality that is happening in the world. Virtual life is not all about reliving glory days but it’s a similar thing , a mental existence versus real life.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Really excellent observations. I hadn’t thought of the virtual world in that way, but that’s really something to think about

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      1. Considering the current world , great reset and all that , I think it’s really important that the sane people don’t check out and leave things to the megalomaniacs. We have to face that the US population is going to grow and figure out best and fairest ways to house and provide for all these people and make sure they have jobs. Otherwise, civil war is coming .

        Liked by 1 person

  9. The past provides plot points to our present’s woe and wow. Yet our future is always a fiction. Nostalgia, as a “current” nostrum, is often a bitter pill, but an Rx of revanchism, the political remedy of our day, is a cure worse than the disease.

    And living through this bit and byte butchery of American exceptionalism; our perceived birthright of self-reinvention, we’re now locked into a global misunderstanding of there being no “new frontier.” Be it personal, parochial, or planetary.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I always think there’s a new frontier…I think there’s always an idea just waiting to be explored…but that’s me…cock eyed pragmatist…prescription of revanchism….I like that….that’s good….

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I’ve had exactly the same thoughts about doing highlight reel posts – it’s looking backwards, isn’t it – and the readers that were there with you have already read it. I often wonder if those posts just come from laziness, or writers block. I know some people struggle to come up with new content, so perhaps they try to milk whatever they can from the content they have?

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I admit, I don’t have a problem with reposting as such. It was more the thought of a Best Of sort of thing. Best of implies that you are done, the best is behind you. I don’t like that thought

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it’s ok to be proud of a piece. I think it’s ok to think something you wrote was prescient, is that the right word. I also get writers block. However….to paraphrase Finding Nemo…just keep swimming…

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  11. I think the children and the young adults will have different issues to deal with. I remember when I was 22 someone saying, “I am glad to be going to retirement as the world is changing everyday.” The only thing we can count on is change and our ability to adapt or not.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, sometimes we just have to hold still to what we have and be thankful. I do think will be a game of wild dice but perhaps those retired folks when I was 22 thought the same.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. I look back on the town I grew up in as quaint and perfect. But when I was a teenager I couldn’t wait to leave our town with a population of 5,000 and move to Seattle. I also have great memories of when my children were young. My son called me “Sweetheart” because he thought it was my name. But, my thoughts don’t register the sleepless nights and tiredness I felt at the time.

    I repost some of my blogs because I don’t think many people dig through archives. I post things that seem relevant today and I add more current thoughts and experiences to them. You’re making me feel guilty for doing that.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. I heard “Spanish Eyes” on my iTunes the other day and I instantly remembered watching my mom and dad dance to that song. I can vividly see dad’s arms around her and them gliding around the dance floor, she smiling up at him. I started to cry. Dad is gone and mom is 97, living 2 hours away with a sister I don’t like so I haven’t seen her in almost a year (pandemic reasons too of course). It felt good to cry (not hysterically because I was driving my son to work) . I was sad because I miss my dad but I was happy that I had such a good memory of them. I told my son how I was feeling. He got it. It was a great 5 minutes. Then I went on with the rest of the day. I miss that time, but I don’t glorify it, think about it occasionally but don’t dwell in it. I may write a note in my journal about how it made me feel. Thanks, LA.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Reminisce absolutely, glorify nope. I tried reconnecting with friends from my past that only ever conversed about what we did back in the day, never really talking in the present. Those friendships were doomed. My brother is like that too. My brother ONLY talks about the past. The man is 56 and I know nothing about him in depth. I sometimes wish our relationship was closer than it is.

    I miss weekend tv from the 1970’s. Saturday morning cartoons followed by soul train followed by creature double feature/Sunday Morning Davey and Goliath followed by the three stooges followed by Abbott and Costello followed by Blondie ect.

    I don’t miss school. Any grade. I honestly can’t remember truly being happy.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I think of the past and miss certain things but I certainly do not glorify the past. I loved some moments that I lived and I am glad I have those memories but I do like the present and I do look forward to what’s next. As usual, thought provoking post.

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  16. I find it fun to share some events from my past – they shaped who I am. I’ve blotted out much of my life from 15-25 which was a horror show. I definitely don’t live in the past and am always looking to learn and do new things. Glory days? Yet to come!!

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  17. This post has truly opened my eyes to some things that I was blinding myself from. I can honestly say that when I start my over thinking I will try to remember this post, smile and change the subject. Thanks!

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  18. This is an excellent post. I began my Friday reblogs during my ten-year blogging anniversary as a fun way to look back at my old content. But I know there are lots of bloggers who re-blog content to pad their numbers, etc.

    This year, I began doing that “soul homework” which I’ve discussed before on my blog. I am learning more about myself. In doing that, I found an old book titled 2000 Questions About Me. It has random questions in it like “what is your favorite toothpaste” or “are you afraid of dying”. I filled it out in 2018, but I feel like I’ve changed so much since then, especially considering the year we’ve just had. So I am re-answering it daily as part of my morning soul homework/meditation. THIS is what my re-blogging is for me. To see how far I’ve come. Not to rehash old content or to keep looking back or to reminisce over the old days (which can at times also be fun) but to remind me (and hopefully others) that it’s good to grow. In fact, it’s important to grow. That’s what we are here to do.

    So I understand your point, but I don’t think it’s bad to look back. If we don’t look back, how do we learn from mistakes? How do we do better? Especially on a historical level?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m a devotee of the five year question journal, but as you said, to see how I’ve changed. Looking back is fine if we are visiting. Moving back to the past is a problem

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Being mid to late (I hope) in the divorce process you can probably understand why I try not to look back. I’m sure I will do that later, esp re that portion of my life. I hope when I do I will automatically filter out any memory that is not fond and instead concentrate on the good ones. Of course, these would mostly center around pictures of my kids. Most of them would not include the about-to-be-ex because he was so seldom there.

      I am also at this time and going forward (one of my new favorite phrases) trying to look forward more than anything given the current state of my personal affairs. As part of this new mindset I am also working very hard to stop negative self-talk and improve the day to day tasks I currently have to deal with. I guess you could say this is how I live in the present.

      As for the past, the part I remember fondly was when I was an independent single woman. The memory of my life and mindset at that time are what I reach back to to reassure myself I can be that happy and self-satisfied again. Memories related to that young woman and how she got there are what I want to include in my memoir.

      Liked by 2 people

  19. My hubby and I often reflect on the past – the miracle that got us together, the hardships of the life we once led, the funny things our children and grandchildren did.
    But we also look forward and plan for the future – using our learning from the past!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t want to live there!!! No computers, no electric kettles, fridges, tv’s. Few woman’s rights, misogamy. Rubbish cars. Limited range of food, limited understanding of difference – sexuality, disability, ageism. BLOGS!!!!!!
        No thank you!!

        Liked by 1 person

  20. HOW DARE YOU SUGGEST I SHOULDN’T REBLOG…just kidding lol You know I’m catching up backwards and I remember you did a mea culpa after offending a few folks.

    Erykah Badu has a song called & On. In it, she says, “Remembering is good if you don’t let it be the fear in you.” That sums up my opinion of this post and your questions.

    Liked by 1 person

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