Wasn’t life so great back then?

Nostalgia.

We love it. I love it. We look back on days past and we remember how great things were.

I love to watch movies that depict an era gone by. They remind me of some of the good that we’ve lost. 

I watch 80s movies and see people in life before cell phones and I think how great that was––how much better things were before cell phones. 

I see simpler times, when I was younger and my worst concern was, well I didn’t have many concerns, it seems. I was pretty carefree. (Of course, when you read my memoir, you’ll realize that wasn’t true at all, it just seemed that way at times)

Recently I went through some old pictures, trying to find a picture or two for my book. As I looked over my high school pictures and yearbooks, I read notes from my classmates to me.

“You are one unique person.”

“Vocational Business wouldn’t be the same without you.”

“You’re strange. You’re still a cool person though.”

“Thanks for being such a good friend and being so fun to be around.”

“With you there, things are done with a touch of excitement and humor.”

Suddenly, I remembered my fun self. I remember how my sole purpose in life used to be to have fun. What a great life!

That’s the allure and danger of nostalgia. Nostalgia can be nice, romantic even. To remember and be drawn in by all of the good. I love it.

But nostalgia should always be balanced with reality. It tempts us to be drawn in and remember only the good.

It’s a great thing to remember the past as only good, but when we do, we escape the reality of all the hard times as well. This can leave us feeling unfulfilled in the present, as if we could only go back.

I’m glad my classmates found some good things to say about and to me in those final notes. When I read those words now, I wonder, where has all the fun gone? I can be so determined now, to be accomplished or serious or take responsibility. How did I get 47 years old?!

I think it’s important when we look back to be thankful for the good. To relish in it for a bit. But to take that experience and let it speak into the present. Do I need to be more fun? Do I need to lighten up a bit? Is there a good reason to be more serious? What has my focus on accomplishment or responsibility given me?

Perspective. It’s important to take it all in perspective.

Today is not supposed to be like the past. I’ve grown. I’ve matured. And though there were many positive aspects to my personality in the past, hopefully I can maintain the best of the past while becoming a better person today.

I challenge you, as you look at your past with nostalgia, to consider the good from your past. 

But also to know why and how you are where you are today.

What aspects from your past would you like to revisit and renew in your life?

What aspects from your past are you simply thankful that you don’t have to relive?

What can you learn from who you were and who you’ve become?

What’s next? What are you going to incorporate into your life now to make it even better?

Published by Shawn D. Congleton

traveler, writer, lover of God, thinker, family dude, in no particular order

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