On the good old days

Today, nostalgia is an industry–books, movies, theme parks, television–anything that will evoke a time gone by when we thought everything was golden, that everything was better. Of course, our memories play tricks on us. Those “good old days” where perhaps only good because we were all so young, and it seemed like we could do anything–climb mountains, swim oceans, slay dragons, solve differential equations, resolve the enigma of the Sphinx. We were thin and energetic, full of vim, vigor, and vitriol, and we could eat anything and not put on a pound.Yet we were also inexperienced, foolish, and innocent. I remember my trip to Mallorca almost thirty-four years ago as if it were yesterday, but when I look at that picture of that guy who I used to be, I haven’t the slightest clue as to who he really was. Those days were good because we were not yet cynical and sad, disillusioned or unhappy. We had plans, a future. Life, however, seldom cooperates and gets in the way of the best laid plans a person can make. How is it possible that all of that time has passed in the blinking of an eye? Life is life, and we live it a day at a time, working, studying, eating, cleaning, picking up, exploring, singing, planning, loving, traveling, arriving, and then we start all over again, and so on. Life will not be better when the week is over, or when we get our next promotion, or when we get married, or when we get a new job. Life is happening every day whether you care to notice or not. Philosopher, poets, artists, have been telling us this with every new thing they create, but we fall victim to our own distractions and worry about when our lives are really going to start, or we obsess about a past that never existed in the first place. Perhaps the best thing to do with the past is remember it, but not idealize it. The past is an unknown landscape that exists only as a construction of our imaginations and our desire to be happy once more. If you go there too often, you will eventually crash in the present, bitter and tired. I prefer to remember the good old days as just that, the good old days, and some of it was very, very good.