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Friday, May 8, 2020

Nostalgic for the good times I never had.

Recently I watched Days of the Future Past.  It was a very intriguing X-Men movie with humankind and mutants fighting for their very survival against an Sentinels determined to wipe them out.   One of the mutants is able to project the mind of a mutant into their body in the past.  This would allow the mutant whose mind was projected into the past to effectively alter the past.  The idea was to project a mutant
mind back fifty years before the Sentinel program started.  Effectively, they'd try to halt the program in its tracks.  The Wolverine got projected around fifty years into the past into the body of a younger Wolverine.   In trying to change the past, The Wolverine needs to help from other mutants.   One of the mutants he needs is Quicksilver.  As you might guess has name implies that he can move at superspeed.   They need this power to get past security at the Pentagon where they were breaking out Magneto to help them on their quest.  During the rescue, the mutants are confronted by armed security who fire on them.  Quicksilver uses his superspeed to outrun the bullets and knock them away harmlessly and to disable the security.  This scene was played to "Time In A Bottle" by Jim Croce.

Later I looked up the song on YouTube and was looking at the comments.  One of the posters said the song made him "Nostalgic for the good time I never had."   That first struck me as funny, but then kind of bittersweet and tragic in a way.   I thought about it a bit more and realized what he might have meant.  The poster probably misses the 'old days'.  Not because they were perfect, but because he had his future ahead of him.   In other words, though the old days had their dysfunction there was a sense that there also opportunities, there were chances.  In other words, the future lay ahead of him.  What I hear in an echo of his words was a regret that things didn't turn out like they could (or should) have.  So, he's nostalgic for when he felt like his whole life lay ahead of him.  Mix that in with a little conflict that perhaps that maybe within the middle of the dysfunction, there were some good times in the distant past.

Future (looking forward from the past)
  • Is uncertain but there is plenty of opportunity.
  • Is something that we can look forward to hopefully when the present isn't satisfying.
  • Is limited only by our ability to dream.

Past  (looking backwards from the present)
  • Is something we grade based on what we thought we should have done or accomplished.
  • Is how things actually turned out rather than how we hoped they would.
  • Is limited by our inability to see good even when it appears none existed.

I think it's important to remember a few things about nostalgia.  Things weren't as good or bad as we remember them.  There may be good that we failed to see because we were focused on the hard times.  Alternatively, we may have failed to see that things may have turned out as good as (or even better than they should have).  You can speculate on what is the proper path, but you speculation is only as good as the information you have.  Similarly, you can speculate on what obstacles you may have to overcome, but life has a funny way of throwing you unexpected curveballs.  Just like at 2020 so far...   So, it is best to look for the hidden positives when looking back.  Similarly, it is best making the best decisions that you can with what you know and turn it over to your Higher Power.  With additional information that makes itself evident over time, you may realize there was a better way.  However, it is pointless to focus on it after the fact.  Beyond that, decisions and events don't happen in a vacuum.  Even if you could choose the other seemingly better path, there is no guarantee that the new path will not have new and harder obstacles.  For example, the car wreck you avoided might now be the car wreck you get into due to timing.  
So, like everything else, nostalgia can be a good thing, just don't live in it. 

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