The past is filled with what seem to be my greatest achievements. The past is when I got the job. The past is when I wrote the brilliant poem. The past is when I first kissed the girl. The past holds all the selective memories edited down into a greatest hits collection. The past is only the best parts of myself and my choices I’ve chosen consciously or not to hold on to.
I do not remember the longest day at work before the last longest day at work. I do not recall the long hours sitting in classrooms, taking tests, reading books, getting teased. I do not remember the low points and the sleepless nights.
I do not remember the worst that came with the very best. ((Exception being the **very** worst of the worst.)) Overall, I look back and I think of all my accomplishments. I still sit and kick myself everyday for losing the backup of my old Xanga.com blog I started writing in 1997. In my head, it holds a lot of great things I wrote when I was a younger, more idealistic man.
I wish LiveJournal had any decent kind of search so I could go back into the many years of writing I still have sitting up there. In my head, there are, again, some brilliant things I wish I could go look back to, revise, repost or at least remember.
But I can’t. The Xanga writings were exported to a now-lost ZIP file and the site closed. LiveJournal is a unsearchable nightmare though the writings still exist… Somewhere.
But the past is not all of our best work. The months and years of history have turned the memories of those great writings into fairy tales. My writing as a 15-year-old poet is not the writing of the 30-year-old geek. I have grown and learned.
We all have.
The people who look back on their high school or college days as the highlight of their life make me a little sad. I can see the appeal of the relatively care-free days and the ignorance of youth. But there’s so much more to life after school.
There are so many more opportunities for greatness and to make cool things. Life does not end at 18 or 21 or 25 or even 30, 50 or 70. Life does not end until you gasp your last breath on this earth. ((What happen after that is up for debate.)) But as far as what you can make and share and produce, you have many years ahead of you.
*Stop romanticizing the past.* Sure, you may have had some successes, but they are nothing to what you are still going to achieve. My past victories are always falling to my current achievements. We all think you’ve hit a pinnacle when we’re in our teens. The first kiss. First drink. ((For some)) Smoking. Tattooing. Voting. The Lottery.
Sure, there’s not a lot of age-based milestones once you get past 21. There’s still car rental and car insurance drops at 25. We don’t need the world to tell us how to be great and when we must accomplish things.
When I was in college I was convinced I knew what I wanted to do. I chose a major and immediately changed it because it was not as I imagined it. I completed my degree and went off into the world with a Bachelor of Science in Communications. ((Yes, I have a BS in Communications.)) I worked extensively for the school’s publications. I was the Production Chief of [The Commonwealth Times](http://commonwealthtimes.org) for three years. I headed the Millennium literary magazine and even dabbled in assisting other publications.
I went to school to learn what I did not want to be when I grew up. The last day I used my degree was the day it arrived in the mail. It’s not even hanging anywhere.
I work as a Sr. Desktop Support Technician now. I support those reporters and writers and designers and photographers just as I worked with their younger peers in college. I am still active in the media world but in a very different way. I am a writer. Something I have always had an interest in but never thought I could do anything serious with. I now write monthly for a publication my father helps to run. From that, I was asked to submit an article for publication in a print magazine in Ireland.
Do I still look to the past? Yes, very much. The past is who we were and dictates where we will go. Each day is open to new achievement and success.
Do not live in the past. Embrace the present and look to the future. Your best work is still ahead of you. Never stop working and never stop learning.
You may be surprised with where the world can take you, I sure am.