There are several different schools of thought as far as the past is concerned. Some hold onto the past too much, some not at all. Some straddle the line of the two as if sitting on a fence. It is in my opinion that some are quite alright to do while some are just pathetic and sad. The key to finding happiness and a true identity is being that said person on the fence.
A while back, Robin, Lairen and I, drinks on the table and smoke in the air, had a conversation about how you can never return to the places you've come from. Not necessarily a bad thing, but something to take into account nonetheless.
One of the first major changes in my life was when instead of moving to Milwaukee from my hometown, I ended up getting a one-bedroom apartment with my best friend. I was twenty years old. Obviously, every one goes through this in their lives. I'm not saying my situation is anything out of the ordinary. However, the realization that I had come upon one day shortly after waking was the fact that NOTHING will ever be the same. Any routines that I had had, any sense of comfort I had financially by living with my parents, was gone. For good. That's the funny thing about it, though. A change in lifestyle only gives way to new routines, new experiences and new ways of setting out on your own.
Some people hold onto to their glory days like it is the be all-end all of their lives. They constantly try and remake moments, relive past triumphs. This is not only incredibly sad, but it is self-defeating. It is wrong. The best part about perfect moments is the fact that you can't create them. They just happen. Constantly living life searching for that semblance of your happiness that existed only in the past burns bridges and shoves the opportunity for other perfect moments out of the window.
I'll be the first to admit that there is a time in my life that I would refer to as part of the glory days. The entire span of it revolved around drinking heavily, vandalism, road trips and brotherhood. I am still best friends with all those boys from the day, but we don't live our lives still in search of that. It was a time in our lives that happened not only because it needed to, but because we wanted it to.
Now, don't get me wrong, I look back on those days very, VERY fondly. I'll be the first to throw out an anecdote or story from those times, but not one ounce of me wishes I could be swept back into those times making homemade bombs and binge drinking. I tell the stories because they show my audience what we've been through, what we've triumphed over and what we've been crushed by. It puts into perspective a lot of our beliefs and priorities at this age.
There are also others that want to forget the past entirely. They willingly (and some times subconsciously) black out periods in their life for some reason or another. They may like act like nothing ever happened, but wind up going through the motions because they have no frame of reference of how they got to where they are. This is not healthy either.
I think the best thing to do is to be sitting on the fence in the middle of these two scenarios, sharing a beer with those closest to you. I embrace the past in the sense that its who I am, where I come from. Its the foundation of my entire belief system as far as friends and family and passions are concerned. However, there are dark parts of my life that I will never return to. To make sure I don't, I almost have to make a conscious effort to remember those periods of my life, what was wrong with them and what I am doing to never make those mistakes again. This is how one should view the past. Critically and circumstantially.
Life isn't about reliving glory days, or constantly seeking them out. Its about creating, living and loving for those closest to you. You do it for yourself. You do it because its the only thing that makes sense. You do it because if you don't, you'll lose perspective of what it means to be an individual. And that is something that no time or place can ever give back to you once its gone.