History vs Hope, Past vs Future

January 3, 2013

Statue of the Roman god, Janus

Statue of the Roman god, Janus

“For most of our lives, we are preoccupied by the future.  Looking forward seems far more interesting than looking back.  All that can happen intrigues us, while the past seems fixed and airless.  Gradually, our future gets so much smaller than our enlarging past that we are forced to shift our gaze.  Just as a society derives its heft more from its history than its hopes, we come to suspect that what we have already experienced is our treasure trove.”
— Wendy Lustbader, Life Gets Better:  The Unexpected Pleasures of Growing Old

The month of January is named for the ancient Roman god, Janus — the god of beginnings, endings, gates, doors, time and transitions.  I like how this fits in with today’s quote about growing old.  When we are young, our life feels infinite and death feels far away.  But as we pass from middle to old age, life definitely feels more finite with each passing year.

I am interested in the perception that the past becomes more potent as we age, and that our cherished memories will be the treasure upon which we will rest our laurels.  For me, it is a cautionary piece of wisdom — to make sure that I fill my days and years with meaningful experiences, with rich moments deeply felt, rather than allowing my days to pass without paying attention.

I’m still young enough to think that I still have the time to look ahead to plenty of new, enriching experiences. But between these new adventures flows the bigger portion of my days.  The challenge is to reflect and find the treasure in these ordinary moments, too.

Brand new or routine and jaded, you can be sure that I’ll be looking for ways to shape blog posts out of all that life gives me this year!


2 Responses to “History vs Hope, Past vs Future”

  1. Elisa Says:

    I like the idea of Central Core, that is attached to the faces that look in all directions. The twins, the reverse of coin, all are affixed and radiant forth from…something, Central Core. There are many readings and stories and teachings and group think that tries to find the ‘right’ face. That central core or pit, is always there. Thanks for thoughts.

  2. Barbara Stahler Says:

    So true about growing older. Each day seems more precious.

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