Blast From The Past – Old Or New?

There is a lot of power in letting go or hanging on to something. It’s incredible how much we can open ourselves up if we don’t hang on to what has been and let it slow us down. Sometimes though it’s  not the easiest to do.

It’s the time of the year where I seem to think back to the days when I had my horse the most. It’s fall back in Europe and as it’s been my favorite time of the year to ride out it’s also my “go to place and time” when thinking back on all those moments in the saddle. I often wonder though if I’m hanging on to those memories too tight. It’s been such a long time since and yet I “travel back in time” in my thoughts every year around this time.

So while sitting here, watching a beautiful sunny day turn grey, I wonder if it’s time to let go. I wonder though if you should and can let go of a memory really. If it’s really bad to hand on to it. After all, in this case it has nothing to do with blocking myself off from experiencing something new or moving on. And I remembered that I shared similar thoughts with all of you before, just about a year ago and I hope you don’t mind me sharing them once more as a Blast From The Past with you.

The other night my husband and I were sitting outside, enjoying the warm evening, talking about our past and the present and what might be in our future. I got to the point where I started to talk about my horse and the place I’ve liked to visit the most during our rides. And I got a bit sentimental as the day I lost my horse is approaching fast and somehow, although I try not to, the memories always seem to come up around this time of the year. Maybe it’s because in my head I still realize that up on the northern side of this planet it’s fall now, the season I enjoyed the most while having my horse around. Maybe it’s because it was on a birthday of a friend of ours who only recently has passed away unexpectedly. For some reason it got to me while speaking with my husband.

His reaction, as always, was wonderful.

He picked me up. In his way. And he made me feel so much better. And then he said something that at first confused me but then made me think when he asked:

“Why do we keep losing ourselves in old memories, in things that have passed, while in the meantime we can create new ones?”

I was a bit confused as we talk about things that we’ve been through every now and then and I feel it’s a good thing to do. When he mentioned this I also thought that this is the definition of memories. Something happens, you do something that you will talk about for the rest of your life. Kind of. It’s the idea of creating memories, isn’t it?

But then I thought about it a little longer. Oh I know what you are thinking! There was a lot of thinking going on… my brain still feels exhausted about it… those little grey cells suddenly got really busy…

And I realized that very often we actually get lost in our memories. We hang on to them too tight. Because they are all about a moment we enjoyed so much that we probably wish it would never end. By hanging on to this memory we kind of stop living in the now. We focus too hard on how it used to be and what we used to do. We want to recreate it instead of creating new things.

Just think about it. As an example think about traveling. Maybe you traveled to a place when you were young and single (or with an ex) and you loved that place so much that you decide to go back, this time with your family, with your kids. You’ve told them so much about it and you are super excited. And then you arrive there and things are different. Maybe the place changed. Maybe the people are not as friendly anymore. And maybe, just maybe it’s all different because you are no longer as young and you travel with a family. So your experience will be different. If you hang on too tight to the memory you had, the way it used to be, you will spend the entire time there being disappointed. Maybe it actually goes as far as spoiling the experience for everyone. Instead of ticking the past off and being in the moment, with the people that are now there and making new memories with them.

The traveling example is only one of many you could mention here. Restaurants, hikes, movies, books, music, partying, Christmas, Halloween, even recipes.

And actually, as I’ve used a gif from this movie anyway, the story of ‘Inside Out’ is about this. The hanging on to how things were instead of freeing yourself up to enjoy what is now.

And suddenly what my husband said made total sense (don’t tell him I said that…).

Cherish your memories. Share them. But don’t hang on too tight or you will get lost in them and suddenly you won’t see what’s actually around you, here, now.

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10 thoughts on “Blast From The Past – Old Or New?

  1. Everyone has a photographic memory for emotionally charged events. Use arachnophobia for example – the first time a spider scared one nearly to death lives in memory like yesterday. So it is with the fondest of times, birthdays, nature rides that overwhelm the senses. Consciousness keeps them for a reason, and it takes effort to remain present. There is nothing wrong with enjoying a memory, as long as it does not process us. In psychology, someone recovering from trauma “decompensates”, the past becomes present again …

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