There are transitions in life that we make willingly and others that we do begrudgingly. Recently I’ve been reminded that my involvement as a parent is going to be wanted less and less in the coming years. It was kind of an odd realization to make that at one point I was one of the two most relevant people in my children’s lives. From the first moment, I was there for midnight feedings, explosive diapers and everything else that came along. Now that my role is changing, I might mourn it a bit or possibly get nostalgic. The thing that I can’t do is perform CPR on a past that is no longer healthy or viable.
Parents are not the only ones who try to “keep the past alive” unnecessarily. Anyone can get caught up in the idea of how things used to be. It’s comfortable and familiar. There is an allure of that known past because it carries none of the fear of the unknown future. The problem with living in the past is that it is exhausting to do CPR on something that has no chance of survival. That version of you is gone and you can’t get it back. The energy that you’ve put into those chest compressions would be better used to move you forward. By all means, reminisce and enjoy the memories but do so as the you of today.
I love this lyric from John Mellencamp although I’d like to amend it a bit. “Life goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone.” There is no doubt that other parts of life carried a certain thrill that you can’t get back. However there is no reason that you can’t get just as excited for today. You can’t go back to the “glory days” but you can create new ones, if you’re not completely fixated on the old.