Should we explore our past?
Many people say to move on, never look back, and to turn to the next page in the book we call our life when it comes to our past, but would it be so wrong to go back? Recently, I think of my past as an abandoned town which is overgrown with weeds and jungle. A town that holds ruins of past relationships, no longer close friends, significant others, and old hobbies and dreams. The town isn’t what it used to be; clean and busy. And it seems like another lifetime ago when the town ended in fires and riots. So what if I go back? Could I plant new seeds that could grow into something greater? Could I find treasures that I didn’t before? Or should I continue on to new ventures? I would love to know different persons’ opinions on this matter. Would you explore your past and why?
Whenever I go home for holidays or breaks I walk the routes I used to walk when I was very young. The route between my dad & moms house. Where I used to sled. Where we built our forts. Where we played until our parent’s called our names across the neighborhood. I’d walk past old friend’s house who have since moved or disappeared. I’d go to parks that have since been overgrown. I’d go to my old elementary and sit for a while, remembering.
Some of my most powerful and profound feelings and experiences have come from there. Time is an incredible thing, and to imagine myself as a child again brings tears to my eyes.
Go back. Learn. Think. Absorb it. Nothing is worth forgetting.
I like your analogy of the past as an abandoned town. Our pasts should be explored in my opinion. Just don’t get caught up anywhere and dwell, there is nothing you can change now. There are plenty of things to re-evaluate, learn from, maybe something happened years ago and just now you can understand it. Learn from the past and apply it to the future. Thats constructive, like your own personal history class
You should accept the past and allow it to guide you to a fuller life. I don’t think there is anything wrong with reminiscing and looking at events and people differently now that you have grown, but you definitely shouldn’t live in the past. Sitting with regret and pain is not good no matter how dark your past.
The issues we face in our lives come and go in cycles. The same issues resurface in different packaging. History does repeat itself, in a sense – it does not seem to, because the “packaging/wrappings” change, but the underlying themes etc are often interchangeable with past and future. Having a diary and exploring it can eventually help you see the patterns you go through. When you become conscious of them, they can be changed.
No change is possible in the past, and no change is possible without letting go of the old. You can’t let go of what you can’t see.
So yes, at least I think that it’s wise to explore our past in order to see the bigger picture, to see the emerging patterns, so that real change becomes possible. Otherwise the past can repeat itself in a different form, no matter what seems to change. The same issues will resurface independent of changing the person you’re in a relationship with, the people you hang out with, and the town you live in.
Yes, I completely agree. Also, I do keep a journal and reading back on what I have written over the years at times is helpful. I haven’t written in it recently, but you have reminded me to write in some new stories and thoughts. Thanks
The past is an interesting thing, and something we should all remember. What is the point of living if we neglect our memories? Memories make us who we are, the things we try to make so we could hold on to in rough times, the things we use to remind us what we’ve been through. When people say move on, they mean don’t linger on the pain, the suffering, the heartbreak, the stress. Those things are not constructive, like poking at an open wound or tonguing the recently fallen tooth. However, remembering how you got those scars is always helpful. Enjoy the memories, understand that life goes on and we must keep reading, but we must always keep the past pages in mind to make sense of what is happening on the current one.
I love the ruins, even though they’re ruining me sometimes. I see my diaries as one of the most precious things I have, I think it’s amazing how I can open a notebook and jump into my 10-, 14- or 19-year-old mind… It gives me the possibility to see (very clear) how much I changed and developed with years, but also to remind me that that too was me. It can be very helpful and motivating, and it’s nice to see how the time made all the pain go away..how the things that seemed like a real drama can actually make you laugh now. It helps me to get myself less serious, and to think about life like of a bunch of events that are here to teach me something.
But it’s also tricky. Sometimes the ruins suck me in, and I feel like nothing has changed or ever will. I’m walking through them like a zombie, and can’t get out. I’m still here though, and writing about it, so I guess the past can be a good friend of yours, even if you have problems with depression.
You should definitely explore your past. As much as I like to think of myself as a constantly evolving individual, science has shown us that the most accurate way to predict future behavior is to look at past behavior. If look back and learn to repeat successful behaviors and cut out the mistakes, we improve ourselves. The unexamined life is not worth living. That doesn’t exactly refer to reflecting on our pasts, but it’s kind of relevant. I like to think of life as a constant trial and error/experiment. The results and data should be put to use.