Everything is always clearer in retrospect. Simpler, easier, more 理所当然. Although they say you should leave the past in the past and look forward to bigger, better, brighter things, I believe that in searching the past is where we will discover our true identities. When we look back, we are able to classify our feelings, label our emotions, and examine the reasons behind our impulsive actions. With the eyes of a quasi-impartial observer, we are enabled to critique, analyze, and organize our experiences the way a historian would with individually cohesive but completely independent primary sources. We have time on our side and distance to keep us calm. With these tools, we slowly begin to untangle the Pollockian chaos that is our life, and start to see beauty in the mess and rhythm in the disorder.
Retrospection is good. Reflection is good. Revelation is good. Regression, however, is not. I am an advocate of turning the head and twisting the torso, but the feet should always be pointed forward.
We look backward, but we move forward.
The past is just a museum: we collect the relics, put them on display, walk through the exhibit, appreciate, glean what we can, and eventually, we must leave. The personal understanding we find in the past should propel us toward the future–the imaginary. It should fuel us for improvement and give us the momentum we need to reach farther and run faster. So look back, and see how far you’ve come. Dream forward, and see where you want to go. Live now, and live boldly.