I’ve just spent the last hour on a train, sitting next to two historians, and their conversation reminded me of the dangers of hindsight.
They were both immaculately dressed in near-matching pinstripe suits, both casually carrying identical brown leather brief cases. One was early sixties and the other seemed to be in his thirties. At first, I took them to be lawyers. But as the conversation unfolded, their passion for academia became clear.
The topic that got them most excited was the history of religious sociology – understanding how a culture’s religious beliefs influence the political decisions.
It was a fascinating and enlightening conversation to overhear, as they discussed the latest research methodologies to analyse the past.
But it got me thinking: you don’t have to be a historian to get stuck in the past. (No offence to historians!)
We all have our own, unique strategies for going back in time to make sense of events. The problem is that too many of us get stuck there, going over and over things in our mind, as though we’re expecting to be able to change them.
We get so stuck analysing the past that we forget to live in the present.
Yet the present is the only place we can ever change.
It’s the only place we have any power or choices. It’s the only place we can have fun or feel love.
Learning from the past is important, but surely it’s not important enough to risk missing out on the life you have today?
Are you ready to come back to the here and now?