How to stop living in the past and get on with your life! Part 2


I want to take a brief hiatus from the Leadership series to do Part 2 of last month’s post, “How to stop living in the past and get on with your life.” Have you ever been so full of thoughts and “ah has” that you felt like you were going to burst? (And I don’t mean to build this up because it’s a lot bigger in my own mind I think than it is in reality). Anywho… here’s what’s rolling around in my mind today:

Last night I saw “Midnight in Paris,” Woody Allen’s new movie. Normally I am not a huge Woody Allen fan… his movies are a bit too slow for my taste and I think a tad too “artsy.” (Let me put it this way – as far as I’m concerned, “Hangover 2” is this summer’s best movie. My taste is not too sophisticated). If you plan on seeing “Midnight in Paris” skip the italicized paragraph below because I’m about to get into plot details!!

Gil (played by Owen Wilson) and his fiancé, Inez (played by Rachel McAdams) are visiting Paris with Inez’s parents. It’s pretty clear from the start that Inez and Gil aren’t exactly a match made in heaven. Inez is focused on living the good life while Gil is a bit more interested in honing his craft. Although he has made a good living as a writer in Hollywood, his real goal is to publish a novel. Much to Inez’s dismay this could mean giving up their luxurious lifestyle and struggling a bit. One of the many differences between Gil and Inez is that Inez is focused on the present whereas Gil is nostalgic for the past and completely fascinated by the lives of his heroes, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Earnest Hemmingway among others, as well as the whole social scene in 1920’s Paris. Gil has to really confront this “grass is greener on the other side” perception throughout the movie and grapple with the question, “Would life really be better if he was living in the past?”

Gil makes some incredibly astute observations throughout the movie. If this is an issue you struggle with I highly encourage you to check out the film.

Although I don’t dream of the past nearly as much as I used to, those feelings do crop up from time to time. Today was one of those days. I was walking across the Duke campus and the landscape was just beautiful and peaceful. There were a few students milling about but it was far less crowded than when school is in session. I saw a couple of families attempting to find their way around, both with what looked like college-aged daughters. It reminded me so much of my own college visits with my parents and how nervous, yet excited I felt.

For a moment, I wished I could go back. Rewind time 10 – well, more like 15 years now… sheesh! College was such a fun time with friends, learning, football games, sorority socials and newfound freedom!

But then it hit me! My memories of college are clouded by the maturity and contentment I have gained throughout my twenties and now into my early thirties. What I mean is, I am no longer that insecure, young teenager in search of something bigger and better in life, unsure of what I wanted or who I was… I have grown up a bit (Praise God)! Back when I was in college I had question upon question about life. I hadn’t yet met my awesome husband, hadn’t yet experienced the growing pains that seemed to characterize my twenties and yet shape me into who I am now. And the person I am today, allows me to look back on that time feeling more complete and content… because that is the person I am now. But that is not the person I was then.

I guess what It really goes back to are those rose-colored lenses we often find ourselves viewing life through. We view things of the past, as the people we are today and that changes things. Life seems rosier because I am … well, rosier. :)

This may contradict the theory that we look to the past because we are not content with the present. But I don’t think so. They both can be true and they both have been true in my life.

Sorry for the brief digression from the Leadership series. We’ll continue with that next time! Any thoughts on these ramblings? (Do they even make sense)?


  1. I like the perspective about how your current situation can impact how you remember past events. For example, when I was in high school I felt the drama and was stressed by school. After I completed university, I realized high school was actually pretty fun, or more fun than I let myself have in university. In the present it is easy to nit pick and it is especially easy to be nostalgic in the I wish I could go back in time, if you are still being nit picky in your present or realizing that it isn’t leaps and bounds greater than your past (as you thought it would be).

    That movie sounds interesting! I like Woody and Rachel :)

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