I ran across a concept on a blog that got me thinking.
I wish that I could find where I read this so that I could give them their deserved “Hat Tip” (that is what bloggers do when they reference something seen at another blog) but even digging through my IE history was a dead end. Obviously I read far too many blogs!
But the gist of the concept was that predicting future nostalgia can make you appreciate what you have today far more than you may otherwise. For example, you may be stressed from your job or this Barney Frank/Chris Dodd economy or the prospect of a newly elected but utterly unqualified President or maybe you believe in the anthropomorphic anthropogenic climate change fraud; whatever stresses you out and makes you feel like things are so very bad now. But rather than letting those things weigh so heavily on you, picture yourself in 20 years looking back to now, missing having kids in the house and remembering back when the national debt was only $10 trillion and knowing how much better your health care was before the government made it, ahem, “free”. Realizing now that you will so often look back at today as The Good Old Days can give you a far more positive perspective on what you really have today.
But once I realized how it could be applied to things like children and family I also thought about other ways of looking at things with this kind of perspective. Remember when you were in college, or just young and naive, and you thought that the world was going to hell in a hand basket? Maybe you believed your ignorant professor when he bashed Reagan or maybe you thought that AIDS was going to kill us all. But looking back now, you realize that in many ways things were better and simpler then. It would have helped your perspective back then to realize that you were actually living through the good old days. In so many ways, we always are.
Another example: I did some growing up in a suburb east of Atlanta called Stone Mountain. It was a great place to grow up in the 70s and 80s, and though I did appreciate some of it I did not realize what we had. I know now that I would have appreciated it much more if I could have looked into the future and seen that it would end up an urban-decay, crime-ridden lousy place to be. It breaks my heart when I have to see it, and when I do have to go there I am definitely loaded for bear. Or think about all of the places that used to be pretty forests or a rolling farm pasture but now sport a Home Depot or Wal Mart… there are empty lots around you that you do not notice now but will miss when they are gone. Take a picture. Even better, take a picture with your kids standing in front of it so that in 20 years you can show it to people and say “This is where the IKEA is now”.
So when you come home tired and your kids seem to have too much energy and you want to go watch TV and decompress, think about how you will look back in 20 years treasuring every single moment that you had with your kids before they ended up fulfilling Harry Chapin’s painfully true song.
I think that looking at things in this way gives you a much deeper perspective that you would wish that you had grasped, back in those Good Old Days.