Embracing Life. Part I: Remembering the Past.

How do you answer someone when they ask the familiar question “So, how’s life?”  I used to respond with my default retort of “Pretty good, you?” But, recently I have been answering this question differently.

I’ll get to my response in a second; but first I want to talk about the past and how important studying and understanding history can be to living a fulfilled life. So much can be learned from reflecting on where we’ve been. This could be applied to a person’s individual journey, or even in a larger societal context. Reflection is a personal hobby of mine, as odd as that may sound (picture “The Thinker” with my face).  But spending too much time dwelling on the past can be dangerous.

Can you think of a person you know (maybe it’s you) who is always talking about “the good old days” or how much better things used to be? Perhaps it was back in high school/college, or when their children were young. Whatever the case, they never seem to be happy with their current situation because it will never compare to how good things used to be.

Then you have others who also dwell on the past, but almost from the opposite end of the spectrum. I’m talking about the people who focus on the mistakes they have made throughout their lives. They seem to be fixed on the negative aspects of their story, feeling that they’ve messed everything up. In their minds, there is nothing to do but wallow in self-pity because the damage has already been done.

Both of these past-oriented perspectives can be harmful to a person’s present happiness. But how does the future play into this discussion? In my next post I will give some insight into my thoughts on future-oriented thinking and how it contributes to one’s happiness.

I know I have yet to answer how I respond to someone asking “How’s life?”. I’ll get to it by the end of these posts. Try to be patient. I’ve chosen to break these posts up and make them each more manageable to read in one sitting (I’ve been told my posts can get lengthy).

Look for Part II coming soon!

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3 Responses to Embracing Life. Part I: Remembering the Past.

  1. Victoria says:

    First of all, nice touch with “The Thinker.” “Picture ‘The Thinker’ with my face” -> nice. I’m definitely one of those people who tends to focus on past mistakes, wallowing in self-pity. So I’m looking forward to reading your reflections on future-oriented thinking.

    Incidentally, today my class talked about dances from the Caribbean (this is relevant, I swear), and how they are African in their roots, originally symbolic of some aspect of slavery or hardship–(the congo representative of slaves in a line shackled together). It was just an interesting thought; the terrible, terrible past was memorialized into a dance, that is now an integral part of Caribbean culture. People don’t dance rumba or mambo or merengue to be sad, but the history is contained in it, nevertheless. Making the past a meaningful part of one’s experience, and recognizing that it is something that does define you…but not control you. (I feel like there is a blog post in here somewhere). Okay, so maybe this last part isn’t relevant, but it kind of makes sense in my mind…

  2. Pingback: Embracing Life. Part II: Looking to the Future. | under the sun

  3. Pingback: Embracing Life. Part III: Living in the Present. | under the sun

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