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Showing posts with label good times. Show all posts
Showing posts with label good times. Show all posts

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's back fifty years before the Sentinel program started.  Effectively, knowing what the future held, that mutant would 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. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Life's misfortunes: No one is to blame

I was playing the song, "No One is To Blame" the other day by Howard Jones and realized that it applied to circumstances in the lives of a few people currently or in the last few years (as well as my own).   The quote above in a way captures the concept.

(Post originally written 3/5/15)

We make many choices in our lives:
  • Without the luxury of hindsight and often under pressure.  Hard to change a flat on rolling car, isn't it?
  • Without ever having had a positive example in the matter.
  • Without an 'instruction book' (at least that we know of).  That is to say, on very limited information.
  • That often seem equally as good or bad as any other.
  • Often in a lose-lose situation.
The point is that we do the best we can with limited resources and not always having good options.  We attempt to do the right thing, but are often restricted from or don't have enough time to see the bigger picture.  

In my own life, my marriage was failing and at the same time, my brother was struggling with his own demons.  Could have, should have, would have and the like.  In a better situation, I would have had the freedom to let him stay with me when he was struggling.  He asked me not to tell others in the family about the 'place he was'.   I made a judgement call that a)  doing so would shut him down to me and b) very likely would not have led to the help or support he needed anyway.  Due to the train-wreck that was happening in my own situation at the time, I had to step away.  I got the call that he was found deceased of a likely suicide.  I questioned myself: Did I do the right thing? Did I let him down?  If I'd hadn't temporarily stepped away would he still have been alive?  So many questions, so few answers.  Guilt abounding.  He was the one closest to me in personality and I had a beat on him, I had a bad feeling, I had bad vibes.  Yet, I couldn't save him.

I've come to realize that at best I would have bought him a little more time, but I was not equipped to deal with his level of hopelessness.  Beyond that, I'm just assuming that I could have made any difference.  Sometimes circumstances are what they are and the sooner we realize it the better off we are.

In the song, "No one is to blame", the implication is that the narrator is in a disconnected relationship.  He is bemoaning, the temptation of infidelity and the frustration involved.  "And you want her, and she wants you, no one is to blame" is the key phrase.  Through no fault of his own, it is likely that due to issues in his own relationship, someone else caught his attention.   Ultimately, it doesn't sound like he truly acted out with this other person.  I don't think he's condoning infidelity but more or less saying the temptation of it sometimes sneaks up on people.  He will not feel awful about being tempted, that these things happen.   In this case, his partner has a role in the disconnect and he likely has a role in the disconnect.  So, in a way, they are both at fault, but yet due to their imperfect relationship knowledge/experience, perhaps the disconnect that led to his outside temptation was inevitable and unavoidable.

There are many possible circumstances in life in which it is easy to blame, but if you step back and look objectively in a way, no one is to blame.  Below are a few examples:
  1. A person close to you ends their life, even if you had a sense of trouble, it is easy to blame yourself for not being there, even if on many occasions you had been. 
  2. Someone you know has health issues and you blame yourself when something bad happens.
    • They don't take care of themselves properly and you finally stop hounding them to and something happens to them.
    • They refuse to see a Dr. or go to the hospital and you relent and something happens to them.
  3. An unexpected/unforeseen illness/tragedy happens to someone in the family.  It tears the family apart. 
  4. In a marriage, for one or both partners, demons from long ago such as abuse/neglect have not been dealt with properly.  The coping mechanisms which were crucial in helping us survive the abuse/neglect were never shed in adulthood, never allowing us to develop effective positive relationship skills.  Over time, this leads to friction/damage in the marriage, perhaps to a point of irreconcilability.   Sure, blame could be tossed, but what good does it do?  In some ways, it might have been inevitable.
The way I see it is this: you do the best you can with the information/strength you have at the time, You hope and pray for the wisdom/strength to make the right choices.  For perspective, you keep in mind and are grateful for the good that has come in life, but are aware that misfortunes do happen, which are out of your control.   Mourn those misfortunes and realize that at times trying to control/fix/avoid these is like trying to lasso the wind.  In other words, reflect on, but don't get stuck on the misfortunes.  In short, sometimes everyone is to blame, but at the same time "no one is to blame".

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