Nostalgia is an act of cowardice. ~Mario Vargas Llosa
I enjoyed my time in High School especially the four seasons playing soccer, the years I invested studying Engineering in college despite the three to four hours commuting each day, reflect with a smile on many of the long-gone years before today. I also realize those days are gone and no matter how deep my desire, they can never be relived. So, I don’t elevate any of those memories to the ‘Best Days’ of my life. To do so blinds me to the fact that great is yet to come and the best is living in the current moment. The past is a portal I navigated taking me to today and endless possible futures.
The future is scary, the terror of the unknown for those preferring to live in the past. When speculating on what could be our minds tend to fill in the gaps with a mortar of worst-case scenarios. To reduce our fear, we portray futures unchanged from the past, a past our minds have polished removing the pains and fears of the time until it is less a reflection of the past than an idealized fantasy. We latch onto that one great game when our team won the state championship as a means of coping with the coming unknown. In politics, this is currently expressed as making America great again.
Dwelling on the past is easy when we dwell on gilded memories brighter with each passing day than they were in the moment. They grow more radiant. I think this is why conservatives are afraid of change, so terrified of embracing the unknown changes facing everyone. They prefer the safety of the known and are willing to fight for stagnation because the lack the bravery needed to walk the cliff wearing the blindfold. Lest you write me off as a card-carrying liberal, I find that bunch equally cowardly because they refuse to acknowledge the mountains climbed enabling sight into the future.
Is lack of bravery necessarily cowardice?
Not always. Some can’t look into the future because they are struggling, bravely, to survive now. Those not in life or death struggle, though, dwell in cowardice but place on the nostalgic mask. Are so afraid of change, they cling to the anchors in the past holding them back, unable to realize those experiences should be springboards from which to bravely propel themselves into one of many possible futures.
Change is the one constant, the inevitable. Be brave and embrace the unknown.