I was recently going through family photos, organizing and trying to do some purging. In doing so I came across pictures of my past, good times, hard times and photos of those that are no longer with us.
From this moment in time, we can all only move forward. We can only work in the present to make the future better.
We humans are strange animals. One of the things that set us apart from the rest of the creatures in our world is our self-awareness and recognition that time passes. That, in turn also makes us acutely aware of the changes and it can often make some of us resistant to change. Some people feed on the resistance to change, such as “Make America Great Again”. The concept puts the false idea into people’s heads that we can roll back time, that we can undo the changes that have occurred and return to a time that we liked more.
I personally rarely resist change, in fact, I like to embrace it. An element that is critical when working in IT. But, change does affect me on an emotional level. I look back at photos of my children when they were smaller or photos of my parents when they were younger and I feel a pang in my heart. A yearning for that moment to exist again. A chance to hold that now teenager as a little six-year-old again and perhaps, do right what I once did wrong. An opportunity to look up to my parents more than just metaphorically and see the world through the magical eyes of a child again. Or, to wind back the clock and see the older ones I love – without the physical or emotional pain that they have today.
There is no back – There is only now and the future
Unfortunately for us, time is linear. From this moment in time, we can all only move forward. We can only work in the present to make the future better. A future that will someday be the present and eventually the past and hopefully a past that we can be happy we lived in. This moment you read these words, and perhaps make a tiny change today so that your present tomorrow will be better. Or, perhaps you do nothing today and just hope that tomorrow will be better. There are things that we can change and there are things that we cannot.
The fact that these changes occur (because of us or in spite of us) does not change the desire to look back on the past and wish to live in it. The past is known. The past is there and the future is not. It does raise the question though; “If you knew the future, no matter how wonderful or gruesome it may be, would it change the way you live in the present?”
I think, for me it just might change how I live in the present.