Old is the New New

For many people, this year has been one of getting back to our old routines. We’ve celebrated what we used to term little things and maybe even enjoy some of the everyday tasks we didn’t like before. Why? Because the whiplash of the pandemic showed us what we had without realizing it. As the saying goes, “You don’t appreciate what you have until it’s gone.”

Even without the extreme conditions we’ve recently lived through, we often see this tendency to revert to past trends, especially in the fashion world. We love a certain style for a while, before it becomes outdated. Then, we might cave and toss it into the donate bin, just to have the same style reappear on the runway a few years later. Why can’t we make up our minds?

If you ask me, indecision isn’t the problem. Rather, these cycles are the product of both our habits of taking things for granted as well as the way we’re programmed to think about advancement. From childhood, we’re eager to leave behind the same old, same old and are constantly striving to reach the next wrung. But sometimes, we make the epiphany that new isn’t always better.

While we certainly don’t want to revert to sucking our thumbs or pacifiers as adults, I’ve come to realize it’s not shameful to look back on moments, people, and so forth that brought you joy. For instance, I’ve typically endeavored to keep the photos I display in my house up to date with how I and my loved ones have grown. This year, we’ve finally acquired some new shots because of getting back into society, but apart from a few, I’ve been reluctant to replace those old yet cherished pictures. In fact, I’ve even put out some from much longer ago because of yearning for those special memories to evoke happiness again.

Granted, we can’t live in the past, as it can make us bitter with the present. Plus, like my post, “Is Hindsight Always 20/20?”, discussed, we often fool ourselves about days gone by. At the same time, memories are a gift, and what better way to use them than to draw on them to help us through hardships? If we’re supposed to simply discard them like a paper towel, why do we bother making them at all?

Cultivating appreciation for past memories also encourages us to appreciate them while we make new ones. It’s all too easy to focus on how something will end or what comes next, but we need to savor the during. Hardly anything goes quite as we expect it to, but when we think ahead to the way we’ll reflect on it someday, we can better avert disappointment. Life speeds by fast, so we have to cling to those precious highlights even as they happen. Then, we can be nostalgic about the present.

Also See

Embracing the Fundamentals

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