“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
― Søren Kierkegaard
The Past: Why go back?
I love the Beatles. Even though I was born almost two decades after Beatlemania, the fab four still fascinates me to this day. This whole fascination with the Beatles started back in my childhood when every Sunday morning, my dad would always spend is only day off listening to his favorite tracks. He also played the likes of the Bee Gees, Bread, Eagles, Kenny Rogers among others and I didn’t really like them at first. When you’re a teenager, you’re trying to be cool so listening to the oldies but goodies is a big “no-no”.
I started to appreciate the Beatles through when I was in second year high. Most of my friends and classmates were into bands and music and not to be left out, I got into it too. More than Words was very popular during that time and I was really in awe with Extreme’s guitar work for that song that I told myself, I wanna learn how to play the guitar and be able to play like Nuno Bettencourt so I told my dad about this new fascination of mine and being a music lover himself, he obliged without hesitation.
So we went to the guitar store the weekend after and my dad helped me pick out what he thought was the best acoustic guitar that would fit our budget. He also recommended that I start learning to play songs made up of simple guitar chords so he also bought me a Jingle Magazine/Song book that contained all Beatles songs from their very first album to the last.
Soon after, I was obsessed with Beatlemania. I wouldn’t miss any television special that would feature my new idols (imagine if YouTube was already around).
Twenty years later, here I am, still a Beatle fan and yes, YouTube is now available so I’ve got my hands on every Beatles documentary I can find. I love going back and reliving history through these videos. It’s refreshing to come back to a time when I was literally a fanboy. It’s inspiring to learn about the struggles and triumph four young boys from Liverpool went through to become one of the most iconic and legendary group of all time. Most of all, it brings me great joy to go back to a time in my life when my dad was still around because I miss him so much and the Beatles was a thing we share the same passion for. Remembering this time of my life keeps him alive in my heart and in my mind and that’s more than enough for me.
I’ve always been saying that we all should live in the present and for us to leave the past behind but not everything. Leave the bad memories but always go back to the happy ones because there’s a lot we can learn from them.
Learn from your mistakes
One of the painful reminders of the past are the mistakes we’ve made. Whether you chose the wrong person to marry or made a bad business decision, they will always be a part of who you are and there’s nothing you can do to erase them. Instead of feeling bad and bitter about these mistakes, the best you can do is learn from them.
The great thing about life is that there is no limit to the number of times you can make mistakes and the number of times you can correct them. It’s what makes us better. It’s what makes us grow as a person so use the past to improve yourself.
Let the past remind you that it’s possible
One of the best ways to use the past is when you’re losing confidence and hope. Sometimes our circumstances can be so painful that we forget that this is not something new to us and that once upon a time, we’ve gone through a similar experience and we gracefully survived it.
I usually feel this way when I don’t get a job I applied for. It’s natural to feel bad when met with a similar situation but I always look back to when I got the jobs that I had and have and I promise you, it lessens the burden a whole lot.
The past reminds us that we’re better than what we think we are and that we are versatile enough to handle whatever situations may come because we survived the past and we’re still standing.
Perhaps the best use for our past is to relive the moments we treasure especially with people long gone. One of the painful facts about life is that it’s short and that people will come and go. We’ve all lost loved ones and man, the pain is excruciating to say the least, but we have to move on. It doesn’t mean though that we can just forget about them altogether.
Looking back and reliving the past through pictures, videos, or sometimes just memories brings a smile to my face because for a moment, I can be with them again. I can watch late night TV with my dad again. I can crack jokes with my grandpa and go to the farm with my father-in-law even if for a moment only.
The past is not all bad. Just don’t get stuck or live in it. You must remember that we all must live in the present and that the past is a reminder of what we were and how far we’ve come. Use it to inspire and motivate. Let it be you teacher.
Over to You
Do you love nostalgia? How do you use your past to make a better future?
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