Now is the “Good Old Days”

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Birthdays are always a good time for reflection. Being a “personal development” nerd, I’m always listening to podcasts and journaling, trying to figure out what the hell is wrong with me and/or how I can better myself going forward. One barrier to happiness I finally noticed is this: I always look at the past as “the good old days”. And I keep trying to have experiences and create a life that is as happy and fulfilling as the one I used to have.

If you rewind back about ten years… holy crap, I feel old now… there’s one moment in time that has always stood out to me. I was living in London during my sophomore year in university, and my roommate from freshman year came to visit us. We all decided to go out and party at The Gardening Club in Covent Garden (RIP – it’s closed, so no more one-pound drinks on Tuesdays), which was just another typical night out for us. But I remember one very specific moment that night when all of us girls were on the dance floor, drinks in hand, and dancing to Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long”.Β  And I remember thinking, “This is the life.” Even now, I can still see my ex-roommate’s black, pointed toe boots two-stepping along to the music.

I can assure you none of my friends who were there would remember that exact moment; but for whatever reason, I never forgot it, and I always revert back to The Gardening Club and “All Night Long” whenever I think about the good old days.

To be honest, there wasn’t anything extraordinary about that night. Nothing spectacular took place, nothing dramatic, and nothing worth really capturing. But now that I think about it, I think that’s what made it so special – it was a moment of being present, carefree, joyful, and effortlessly content. And that, I believe has been my problem. I keep trying to recreate moments and days of pure bliss, rather than simply allowing them to happen.

I think I’ve finally realized that if I take a look back on my five years here in NYC, there’s literally dozens of moments that match up to that one night at The Gardening Club. I was just too distracted thinking about the past to really appreciate the now. Sure, life as a college student is much more stress-free than the real world, but that doesn’t mean the real world has to suck. And the truth is, NOW is the good old days. It’s those pockets of time when we may not think anything special is taking place, and we’re not going out of our way to enjoy ourselves. The good old days are effortless, and they just happen.

We can’t recreate the past, and trying to do so is just a waste of our time, robbing us of the good things that may be going on this very minute. And if we wake up tomorrow, then the now – this very moment – will become our new past, filed away with days gone by. So if I’ve learned anything, it’s to appreciate what’s happening now and look forward to what’s coming in the future. The “good old days” reservoir is infinitely full and can be added to as long as we’re alive.

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