It’s often hard to think back in time to your previous chapters. Maybe you had a different job or a different home or a different lifestyle altogether. Our brains are so adaptable that we tend to lose site of the things that were so important only a few, short years ago.
In some ways, this is a valuable trait of the grey matter – it allows us to move forward instead of being stuck. It also helps fuel our interest in trying new things and hopefully, growing and improving.
But there’s also something to be said about understanding our past. And if you can literally revisit where you came from, there’s no better way to jog some memories that make you thankful for the present moment.
Recently, we visited a park nearby our old home in the heart of the city. Our townhouse was on a crowded, unkempt, one-way street. Atop a giant, Pittsburgh set of stairs lives a city-maintained park. When my boys were little, I’d strap one to my chest pack and hold the other’s hand as we made our way up all of the steps. Once there, they’d play on the slides and in the summer, run through the water spray zone. Even though they were bigger this time and didn’t require carrying, they sure did enjoy the park again.
I teared up remembering how little they both were only 4 years ago. How it was so difficult to carry them up the stairs, but grateful to have a park so close that I didn’t need a vehicle. How they used to try their hardest to climb up to the monkey bars and now they’re flying through them, hand over hand. How I had to regularly traverse busy restaurants and shops, but enjoyed the diversity the city offered my children.
If you are able to make a similar trek, when you return to the present moment, sit with the changes, no matter how hard it may be. Hopefully positive changes outweigh any negative changes. And if you’re truly missing something from the past, think of ways to incorporate the past in a healthy way.
In my case, I want to make a point to take my kids back to the city as often as possible. I want them to enjoy everything Pittsburgh has to offer and understand that there is a far bigger and more diverse world than their 20 square-mile suburban town.
Learn from the past, enjoy the memories, and be present. You are here.