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Past, Present, Future

On Tynan

There's this new-age idea that we should all be completely in the present at all times, ignoring the past and the future. Some people go so far as to parrot phrases like "the present is the only thing that really exists", or "live every day like it's your last!". I disagree. I think that there's value in considering all three time periods, as long as they're looked at differently. The problem is that most people treat them in the same way.


Take the past. Most people look at the past as something that could somehow be changed if they wished hard enough. They don't actually believe that, but they act like it, saying things like, "If only I had _____". A better way to see the past is like a series of completed experiments. Everything, from before you were born until the moment you read the previous sentence is now set in stone and cannot be changed. The value we can get from this is to learn from our mistakes, failures, and pure observation.

It's possible to live in the past, to rehash things that happened and associate their greatness or tragedy with the present. We are the product of nothing but the past, but on the other hand the past is only a series of experiments. We aren't bound to make the same mistakes, and we aren't guaranteed the same successes, especially if we can't emotionally distance ourselves from what has happened, and rationally extract all of the available lessons from it.

How Long Do Your Mistakes Bother You?


How long do your mistakes bother you?

I've been thinking about this lately. For me, it seems around 3-4 years. I'm still annoyed at a few of the larger mistakes I made in 2008, 2009, and 2010. Maybe a couple things from '07. I'm not bothered at anything from from '06 or earlier.

How about you, dear reader - how long do you carry your mistakes with you? I think instantly forgetting and moving on would be pretty dangerous, it's the negative feelings we carry around that helps us burn new patterns into ourselves.

On the other hand, agonizing over something that happened 10 years ago, 20 years ago... there can't be any sense to that, can there? Certainly, you can internalize the lessons after 5-7 years and move on... right?

I'm wondering lately if I should work to speed up the process of not being bothered at mistakes. I make a lot of mistakes. I do so much stupid shit. I say so much stupid shit.

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