Many cringe at the idea of looking at the past as a way to move forward, and it’s understandable. The ‘past’ often equates to unpleasant emotions and experiences, so to look back would seem like a big step back… even if you’re the type to wear the ‘these-scars-remind-me-of-who-I-was’ badge while traversing the recovery road.
I say skip through the dark areas of your life and go a long way back. Reminisce about the simpler times when there were no bills to pay, no internet, no bosses to impress, no buzzer-beater deadlines, and no regrets.
That was when waking up at 5, 6, or 7 in the morning did not feel much of a burden. That was when playing with friends after school was the way to socialize sans a gadget of any kind. That was when waiting for mom and dad to come home from work (and yes, the pasalubong) was the most exciting part of the day. That was when we hated sleeping in the afternoon because we’re basically like live wires. That was when we took for granted the most mundane things we now so long for.
Oh, childhood. My heart yearns for thee.
I remember how a regular day would start with me eating breakfast and tidying up as quickly as possible just so I won’t be late for school, or how Sesame Street / Dragon Tales / Teletubbies became my morning habit during the summer break. I remember how engaged I was playing the first ever Gameboy, how cool it was to own one, and how listening to each game’s BGM helped me become the music enthusiast that I am now. I remember how stressful it was to review for my quarterly exams, which now should, naturally, be easier to deal with.
All of a sudden, there goes the realization of how much I’ve grown.
Yes, the bittersweet longing of the past… that’s the healthy kind, and this nostalgia somehow re-ignited the flame inside me. I realized that at the end of the day, it’s all about appreciating the simpler things in life. We often get so tangled up in so many nerve-wracking thoughts that it takes too far from what really matters.
Go visit a place you used to hang out in when you were little. Listen to the songs you grew up humming along with. Reconnect with childhood friends via Facebook. Have a trip down memory lane with your family at dinner. Re-watch the programs you tuned into from your old-school TV set that had those long, dangling antennas. Strive and work smart everyday so you could have time to play retro video games. Do whatever floats your nostalgia boat. Escape for a while if you have to – and perhaps that could help put things into perspective.
Because you’d want the simplicity back. Because you know you worried too much before, yet things eventually turned out to be okay. Because, perhaps, you’d think of the same thing 5 or 10 years from now. Because, at the end of the day, it all boils down to letting go of the excess baggage and focusing on what and who makes you happy. Because you know deep inside that you can un-complicate life and be less stressed about it – just like how it once was.
A trusted mentor recently told me about sculpting and how akin it is to everyday living. We try so hard to shape or mold our lives to something so ideal, but things don’t always work out the way we wanted to. Even if it takes time, re-sharpen your tools. By doing so, you may be able to carve out something more beautiful than what you originally intended it to be. Maybe it will be as beautiful as your past, or even more.