The older I get, the more this seems the only way to exist. There was a time when my family was known as the “remember when” family. We spent a lot of time remembering when things happened and when you have kids that is not difficult as they give you so much to remember.
Those memories so often bring you a sense of joy and laughter recalling the various acts committed by different family members and its good to know you have a history and one that is worth recalling.
But as I age the past is something so easily looked back on, but the future is where expectation lies. There is an urge to write it all down and leave a written account for future generations, and I’ve started doing some of that.
The problem with looking backwards is you not only have the good stuff to consider, but the bad is also there lingering in the shadows and ever ready to raise its ugly head.
For some, the bad in their lives can be a reason to never move on, but you have to find a reason to do so as you can then embrace all the future may have in store for you.
Aging brings with it the perils of your body deciding it’s had enough of your youthful ways and finds reason for you to slow down and contemplate the next chapter in your life, whatever that might be.
No matter what there is that urge to keep living. We look forward; we live forward because there is so much we still want to do. Our children have grown up and provide us with never-ending adventures, be they good or bad, but ones in which we participate willingly because we see our children as extensions of ourselves. They, in turn, provide us with grandchildren, a generation that is instantly exciting and exhilarating, what is there not to look forward to. (Especially the returning of them to their own homes after a long day with Grandad.)
I find I have a similar outlook when it comes to death. It draws closer every day, it is inevitable, no matter how many drugs I take, as Ekhardt Tolle says:
“Everybody suffers from a fatal affliction, called time, and eventually it will kill you.”
So is it possible to look forward to such an event?
As inevitable as it is you can view it as something everyone has to deal with and deal with it because our mortal bodies only have a limited time in which to function for us.
What happens beyond this life is conjectural. Some say there is nothing, others say there is something, but it is beyond our comprehension as to what it is.
No matter what it might be, heaven or hell, (though I tend to think earthly lives are as close to hell as I could imagine) to believe all this has been in vain would be very disappointing.
The disappointment lies in leaving those we love and in accepting their leaving when it happens to us.
So I think to live forward, look backward is an excellent way of thinking about life. Our past gives us our story; our future gives us the expectation of weaving our story further.