It’s been a while since I have written….again, I beat myself up for it. Rather than dwell on that, I think I have had an epiphany of sorts. Regarding not only this blog, and its purpose but even myself to some degree…
Reflection. I have found myself doing this a lot lately. I often find myself mistaking this reflection as reminiscing, not to say that I don’t do my fair share of that as well. I find both natural. It’s easy to reminisce, especially in emotionally trying times, in fact I find often times it’s what we do to comfort ourselves through them. Remembering how we were, or how simple and unencumbered our lives were lessens the stress of our present situation. Whether it be prior to a certain coming of age realization, a major death in the family, or really any life changing event, down to the smallest stressors we deal with in our day to day lives. We think on how much easier our lives were before.
While I think it is a good thing to reminisce and think fondly of ones past, I think it also tends to take us out of the present, and also undervalue it more than we realize. We think and feel that life was better before, because we are thinking of only the good times. The times when life was going right, or when things were less complicated or stressful. We think of the parties, the joy rides with friends in the wee hours of the night, or poolside days of summer we hoped would never end. And unfortunately what this does, especially to me, is reinforces the negative I face in my present. The annoying coworkers, the bills, the car, family drama, politics and societal issues…all of these things that happened behind the curtain in the minds of our younger selves, because we felt it didn’t apply to us. Adulthood I feel has hit this generation harder than ever, as it was never a reality we were actively preparing for. So I focus instead on reflection rather than reminiscing.
For example, the bills and car that regularly stress me out to the point I choose to reminisce about not having them, are all things that have in truth made my life better. My car allows me the freedom to go where I want, when I want. The bills, allow me to write this very article and post it to the internet for the world to see in the comfort of my bed. Reflecting on the changes you have made, or even how you had to adapt to changes you couldn’t control over the years is much more productive. It also allows you to view your present with a much better overall perspective. I am sure there are both good and bad things, events you responded to with positive change, and events you could have handled better. The point is that although reminiscing on a time when life was less hard or complicated can be fun, it’s better to reflect on the decisions you have made that got you to where you are now.
If you are ultimately unhappy with where you are, reflect on how you got there and ways to better your situation. Dwelling on the past, especially the good times, is not a way to make a better present for yourself. While reflection on the other hand can not only help you make better choices in the future, it can help you understand the how and why you have reached your present. I am a firm believer and practitioner of this. As with everything this takes time to learn, as any new skill. But with practice comes perfection, or close to it at least.
I hope to one day reflect back on this blog, and my life, to find that in making the distinction between the two and effectively using them helps me find and understand my why. I hope you can too.