Go back (revisited from June, 2022)
This is a re-post from about a year ago. I imagine most people, from time to time, find themselves daydreaming about the good old days…. the glory days before things became complicated or more difficult. (If you can’t conjure up what that is for yourself, just imagine you’re 11 years old and you’re set, just start there.) But how helpful is it to really ruminate on what was? Our pasts are important, and giving them their due weight feels just as important. But wishing we could go back for any reason? That seems more and more like a waste of yearning. I appreciate how Eric explains this revelation and what it means to him.
Hmmm. A few things have been presented to me… I’m still grappling what these new ideas mean to me.
They deal with my thoughts about the past.
Did something good get taken away from me? …. A death, a financial loss, a relationship, a job, a wrong decision….
Do I have feelings of resentment towards someone or something?
Do I wish I could relive those “glory days” as Bruce Springsteen sings about?
Do I wish for those good old days when life seemed to be much simpler and easy?
In my mind, in my heart — should I “go back” to the past and spend time and energy living there?
Rob Bell, in his podcast episode “The Thing In The Air #321”, speaks about his perceptions on the war in Ukraine and applies his thoughts to a “go back” model.
He thinks Putin wants Russia to “go back” to the glory days of the Soviet Union. When the USSR broke up, Putin lost something he thought was good. He became resentful of that fact and he developed a deep desire to bring it back to how it was. Rob describes resentment as reliving feelings of loss over and over again to the point you can’t get out of the loop. You want to right a wrong, and it becomes so strong that eventually you become lost and irrational trying to achieve that goal. Yet, Ukraine does not want to be a part of that USSR, the old world. They instead want to be part of a different, newer world with new stages of growth, new evolution. My mind caught Rob’s remark that Putin is “digging in his heels, and he longs for how it used to be.”
So what I coined from Rob is the phrase “can’t go back.” I started to think about all the areas in my life where I could or would want to go back. Have I dug in my heels and chosen to long for how it used to be? Or do I open my hands to receive the new that is unfolding?
To simplify my thoughts, I see two potential outcomes if I go back. The first one is that I learn from my past, bring the good to the present and look to the future with excitement. This gives me a great sense of adventure filled with purpose and imagination. I would be seeking growth through change. Yet I know that with change can come a sense of “chaos” and the “unknown,” an anticipated form of risk.
Or I can go back and get stuck there. I stay in a frame of mind of the past that offers no imagination or creativity. I focus on what was taken, what I resent and I cling and grasp for what was. Like Putin, I dig in my heels and long for how it used to be. These are the the places where I just can’t afford to go back. “Can’t go back” rings in my head when I consider these places in my life.
So, if I go back at all — to perhaps grasp a lesson I may have learned — I don’t stay there long. My goal is to be in the present and run the race which is set before me, not rewind the race I have already run.