Past, Present, and Future
Days Gone By
Your first bike. Your first day of school. Your first kiss. The list of fond remembrances likely stretches on and on. And whether you’re lonely or unwell or simply in a funk, it’s easy to develop a longing for those days, even though they, too, included difficulties to overcome—or, when necessary, learn to live with.
So, what are you to do when these memories fill you with sorrow and discontentment?
There are a number of ways to draw those memories to the surface in a way that will benefit you and others. Below are a few to use as a springboard for your own ideas.
Gather together old photos and write or record a few key memories each one brings to mind. (There are simple scrapbook kits that include all you need to create a keepsake that you can enjoy and pass along when the time is right.)
Think back over the years and the current technology that you did without. Write or record what life was like before cell phones and computers, before mp3 players and GPS navigation. Remember to include the challenges not just the perceived benefits.
Create a journal under the following headings: Life from 0-10; My Teen Years; Early Adulthood; Life from 30-65 (which can easily be separated into decades if you prefer); The Golden Years. This is a great exercise for your memory—and will make an incredible keepsake for those who love you.
When your present reality is challenging, it’s tempting to dwell on what once was. And while it’s great to ponder the joys of the past, it’s also important to look for the good things happening right now.
When thinking of the Now, it’s possible to narrow your focus to this very minute. Sometimes the days are difficult, but there is always good to be found and celebrated. It may take concentrated effort, however.
Here are a few ways to zero in on the good:
Create a list of things to be thankful for. Sure, you can look back and even look ahead, but start with what you have to be thankful for right this minute.
Think of half a dozen or more ways you can brighten someone else’s day. This week, seek to do so each day. If you’re feeling lonely and depressed, it’s a given that others are as well.
Plan a Thankfulness Party. Serve snacks and enjoy a time of sharing only the good things. Others’ positive contributions can spark even more ideas in their fellow partygoers.
Whether the present is challenging, overflowing with joy and laughter, or a mixture of both, it’s natural to look ahead to the days to come.
Days to Come
There once was a time when you likely couldn’t wait for the next big thing on the horizon. Purchasing your first car. Getting married. Buying your first home.
However, the older one gets, the more difficult it becomes to look to the future. You may not plan for 5, 10, 20 years down the road, but what about tomorrow, next week, next month?
Follow these steps to keep you anticipating the days to come:
Decide what realistic achievement you would like to accomplish by the end of the year (i.e. take up a new hobby, read a stack of books, create a scrapbook for your grandchildren).
Now, think of what you need to have accomplished by the end of the month to move you in that direction.
By the end of the week?
And now, what can you do today to start on your journey? Perhaps you want to make a detailed plan with target dates for each item. Perhaps you want to borrow a book from the library and take some time to read—or listen to an audiobook. Or may, you want to go on a shopping trip to purchase the needed supplies for your new project.
So, while you have a long-term goal in mind, you can enjoy a sense of accomplishment when you accomplish each step along the way, a classic win-win situation.
And so, whether they be many or few, seek to make the most of the days to come.