The other day, I was driving home from work. The rain was lightly falling, so I had decided to take a different route home than usual. I drove down a suburban street in Buckhead, noticing how green everything has become, enjoying the twists and turns of the curves of this road, one of my favorite roads, through the beautiful suburban Atlanta neighborhoods when an old familiar song came on.
You know exactly what happened next. (…aside from me belting out the lyrics, I mean…)
I took a trip down memory lane! And, in all their glory, like it was yesterday, I recalled the details of the time in my life when this song was first released.
I fondly remembered the boyfriend I had, the work I was doing (and doing well, I might add!), the house where I lived… I remembered all of the vibrant, sensational pieces to the puzzle that was my life during that blink of time when this song was popular. Ah, the Good Ol’ Days, I thought (well, not exactly, but it was something along the same lines…)
And that’s when an interesting little observation occurred to me.
How often and how easily we fall back on the past for comfort, for ease, for escape, for comfort or as a sign of better times. Whether its the highlight reel of our personal lives, or the nation’s current affairs, we feel certain that the best is not yet to come, but it has, in fact, come and gone. We watch the news today and see some pretty disheartening headlines. Stories of political, economic, and inhumane strife seem to outnumber the reports of triumph, peace, decency, prosperity, and collaboration, don’t they?
It’s no wonder we romanticize and reminisce about those good ol’ days! There’s no way it was like this!
Ah. And in that thought came my Aha! Moment.
When that little musical memory jog first hit #1 on the Billboard charts, I was content, yes, undoubtedly, and grateful for the boyfriend, the job, the house, the friends, the everything, BUT I was also frustrated that I felt I had no career path or passion, angry that the relationship was not what it should have been, tired from trying so hard to do everything to perfection, and feeling like a bit of a lost girl without direction in some pretty big areas of her life at a milestone age when the pieces were “supposed to be” falling together. And you know what else? Countries were at war; the economy was up and down, food and gas prices were rising, and… everything felt pretty much the same as now! In relative terms, it was no different!
So, what does this mean, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you how I feel about it, and I’d love to hear your thoughts.
In a few years, when I look back on this time of my life, on today, on the girl driving home from work enjoying the greenery, singing her heart out in the car, with her day-to-day challenges and frustrations, I will still very likely remember her and her current station in life with joy and a glad heart.
So, why not just have the joy and the glad heart now? When times get tough, we have to choose the joy, choose the glad heart now.
In five years, looking back on who you are today, you will feel warmth, contentment, perspective, wisdom, self-appreciation, so be that person you would be in five years, now. Feel the feelings now that you want to feel when you look back at this time. Relief, gratitude, appreciation, humility, love. Choose to feel it now.
Life goes up and down. You’re in a Down today? Ok, well, the Up is coming, so act as if it is here. Do what you can, however you can, to feel the Up already. Fast forward. See that you’ve climbed the hill. You won the battle. You made it! It’s now in the past.
You will make your journey through this life easier and the road to “better” shorter.
When the world moves too fast, when countries battle, when negotiations aren’t favorable, when relationships sour, when life gets complicated, it is so easy – and even comforting – to reminisce about the past. To remember a “better time.” But really, that better time IS now, it is IN the Now. Why not just go ahead, fast forward to the good stuff and start feeling it today?