Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Living in the Past

A couple of years ago, a co-worker told me that I was living in the past. When I asked her to explain she said "You're always talking about the way things used to be. You're always bringing up stuff that happened years ago."

Well, she was kinda right. She saw it as a flaw. But I see it as my need to gain perspective.

That's why I enjoy studying sappy lyrics and 70s songs and stuff like that. That's how I anchor myself. I find something that appeals to me and I latch on to it. Maybe I take it to an extreme sometimes, but I don't think so. I think what I'm really doing is finding what works for me and then sticking with it. There's nothing wrong with that. It beats wandering around aimlessly, looking for a purpose in life.

One of my favorite teachers in school was my seventh grade social studies teacher. One day, at the beginning of the school year, he wanted to impress on our junior high skulls of mush the importance of studying history. So he called me to the front of the class and told me to walk across the front of the classroom, but to do it walking backwards. After I did it, he asked me how I did it. It took a little prodding — I didn't understand what he was getting at — but the lesson was that the only way you can walk backwards is by watching the path where you've been. You don't have eyes in the back of your head so you can't actually see where you're going. But if you study where you've been, you'll always have a clue of what's coming up next. It's not perfect — but it's all you've got.

And that's how life is. You have no choice — you have to walk through life backwards. You can never see what's coming next. But if you never lose sight of where you've been — if you study your past and the consequences of going through it — you'll have at least a glimpse of what's yet to come.

And that's a lesson that I still remember 35 years later.

1 comment:

Tina said...

That was a great lesson. I totally agree with you.