Sometimes the past is just the past. A routine experience and nothing more to be thought of.
And sometimes it is much more.
I spent the past weekend back home in the Bay Area. My family is all there. My wife’s family, too. We both grew up there. This includes all possible relations…cousins, grandparents, childhood friends, neighborhood fixtures and now two special additions — a niece and nephew.
When one goes back to a place they grew up, it is inevitable that nostalgia will surface at each turn. A familiar smell will jar the senses. A path your feet crossed a thousand and one times will suddenly slow time. A familiar rhythm will quickly develop like muscle memory. It is a peculiar feeling… you’re an entirely different person than that kid, than that teenager, than that college student, but then, with a single step, you take on those lens of the world you left behind.
Now this isn’t the first time I have returned home since transplanting myself to Chicago nine winters ago, but this is one of the few times I have stopped to reflect on this personal phenomenon. What my mind kept returning to was how this raises a mirror to my current life.
You really begin contrast your current self with the one you may have left behind, and beg the question, “How do I measure up?”
Am I better? Have I grown? Have I developed blinders? Can I be proud?
When those that witnessed me grow up first hand, pull my aside and praise my daughters’ behavior… it is a definitive moment of parental pride.
But when an old yearbook surfaces and your hand brushes the faces you lost all contact with, and then you find a candid of your younger self, you begin to wonder… could I have done more with life, been better?
As I wrestle with this and continue thinking how to tweak my present, I must say this is a mixed bag of results… so I leave you with this quote:
“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
― Søren Kierkegaard
Currently on the Docket: June will be an especially busy time, so I am currently working through my current edits, prepping my team to handle the next few projects out of town and always, strategizing for the future.