Do you ever look back on a time on your life and think “wow, I wish I was back there”? Do you ever find yourself getting emotional about how great the past was, because the present doesn’t seem as great? Do you ever want to hop in a magical DeLorean and visit your former life?
Being in the early stages of real-life adulting, I do this a lot. I always find myself wishing I could be 17/18 again. I’m always thinking about how great those sixth form days were and how much better everything was. I’m always going over all those memories and getting sad when I realise I can’t go back there.
And it’s not surprising.
When I was in sixth form, every morning involved a bacon roll and hot chocolate without any worrying that I was too fat, too greedy or too unhealthy. I got to spend every day with my friends, didn’t have to think about anything serious like bills and mortgages, and didn’t have to wake up before 7:45. There was the excitement of going out drinking for the first time, and getting to do adult things, but without all the responsibilities that come with it now. Weekends were spent with my friends, money came from my parents and the majority of my lessons involved messing around in the drama studio. The future was wide open and the prospect of going to university and finding myself was so exciting, so wonderful.
But even though drinking, being irresponsible and eating bacon rolls does seem appealing, it wasn’t without negatives. A lot of the time, I look back with a rose-tinted view of how things were. I forget that I was trying to do 7 stressful A-Levels and struggling to fit all the work in. I forget that my funds were limited and I couldn’t find a part-time job because I was under 18 and had no experience. I forget the dreary afternoons studying dance theory and wishing I could just go home. I forget how intimidated I was by the popular kids and how awkward a trip through the 6th form block could be. I forget the miserable nights out where everyone was coupled-up while I danced alone.
It’s easy to forget all this when I’ve got a house to clean, bills to pay and long days at work. The past can feel so rosy, so much better in comparison to to the present, especially if you’ve got to “adult” now. It’s hard for me to see sometimes, but there are so many things in my life that are better than they were back then. I have my dream job, I’m not having to worry about whether I’ll pick the wrong degree and completely mess-up my life and I don’t have to worry about getting good grades to secure my future (which is btw, a ridiculous worry, grades aren’t everything). I’m in a committed and happy relationship, which is something I never dreamed I’d have, and I’m so much more confident than I used to be. I have a lovely house, earn my own money and I don’t have to ask my mum’s permission to go on a night out. And I still have amazing friends, even if I don’t get to see them every day.
Yes, the past may be great, but it doesn’t mean I should be hating on the present. The present is also great. Awesome, even. I mean, I have reclining sofas now. 17-year-old me had never even seen a reclining sofa. That’s definitely progress on the happiness scale!*
*Minor disclaimer: Reclining sofas are not an automatic gateway to happiness. But they do facilitate ultimate laziness in any given situation, which makes for a very happy Amy.
So if like me, you’re wishing you could go backwards, then take a minute to think about all the good things. Think about what makes you happy now, and, if things aren’t great right now, think about the future. Hold onto all the happy memories, yes, but make sure you remember that we can only go forward, so there’s no point wasting hours longing for a past you can’t reach.
Saying that, I’ll probably look back in three years and wish I was here. Because old grass always seems greener when you have no time machine. Or whatever the saying is…
Do you miss anything from the past?