George Carlin once asked, “Why do people watch their own home videos? They are watching things that they have already done! Stop living in the past!”
He makes a valid point that has always had a lasting effect on me. Why do we live in the past? Perhaps it has something to do with personal comfort or the fact that the past was a much happier place than the present day. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, living in the past on a regular basis can be considered unhealthy.
This topic came to the surface after a recent conversation with an old acquaintance. He had obtained a great deal of success within a short period of time and was riding high. He had an outstanding job, a stunning condo and a luxury car. His life suddenly came crashing down after his company folded. He often discussed reinventing himself and moving in a new direction, but instead, hung onto everything he lost and ignored his potential. He spent so much time in the past, that he forgot to focus on the present and plan for the future. He refused to move on which lead to a personal and professional stalemate. In one of our last conversations, I brought up a philosophy that I readily follow.
“You learn from yesterday, live for today and grow for tomorrow.”
Apparently he took this to heart and has reinvented himself. I received an email from him just yesterday thanking me for that little piece of advice.
While a trip to the past may be full of joy and vivid memories, remember that it should only be considered a temporary vacation. If life is a photo album, you should focus on filling the remaining pages and making them count.