The Past a Prison

I often list, in the middle of the night, how far I have come and how many things I have done in life. I know I have not done much, but it felt good to count all my little accomplishments and feel a sense of self-satisfaction.

Is this a good thing? I believe so. After all, if we look back and see the great heights (or not-so-great, as the case may be) we have covered, we would look at the mountains in front of us and think that, well, we have gone a long way so why would it be a problem to scale a few more miles?

So what is the problem? For me, it is reliving the past so much and basking in it that I found myself wondering if the present is as good. The past is safe; it is comfortable. Everything is familiar, and we are accustomed to it. When we have left an occasion or a person, often we find ourselves unable to think of anything but the good.

Like yesterday, for example, I was stuck in a train station in the middle of nowhere because of an accident. There was nothing but storage chambers and darkness all around me. One lady kept on complaining; a group of people were shouting drunkenly. The glow of the station lights was harsh, unforgiving against the rails and concrete and the faces of the anxious passengers. At that time I was frightened, unable even to leave my seat to go to the restroom; now I laugh about it and tell it to my friends. Where is the horror and the anxiety that I felt back then? They were all eclipsed by the relief I felt, and had become an ingredient for a good story.

And then there is  the future. It is uncertain while the past is set. One can pluck the grandeur of the past and makes it one’s own. That is much easier than working towards a future that appeals to us. Now this is the core of the problem. If we continue to hold on to our safe-zone, to the past that we know is not going anywhere, how are we going to progress? Knowing how far we’ve come gives us hope, true, but let’s not live counting our past ‘glory’. Let the past be a lifeline, not chains holding us from living the present to the fullest and looking forward to the future.

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2 comments

  1. Dip into the well of the past when you need to find the things that make you who you are today. Hold them at arms length and examine them, then put them back.

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