Are there not some of us, beloved, who have been trying a good while to get back an old experience? If we succeeded we should only be where we were, and if we are only going to get where we were, we have abandoned the law of progress and begun the downward retrogression.“The A.B. Simpson Collection: 32 classic works
I’m not a person who looks backwards much. But, every so often I go back through my old journals and notes looking for what I want to keep or throw away. I am always amazed at what I wrote thinking myself to have greater insight into certain topics “back then” as opposed to now.
Recently I had a conversation with a friend about this very thing. We both felt like what we knew intellectually somewhere in our past was greater than what we know now. As if what we knew in our past has somehow left our lives and left us unenlightened. We wondered if we should go back and try to get back to the place we were or stay in the present looking forward.
And then in the process of going through my old papers, I found the above quote by A.B. Simpson. He brings up a very good point. Why would I want to be successful going backward? Why would I want to get back to where I already was? Oh how crazy the whole business of trying to get back the insight I had then seems to me now.
How often have we abandoned the LAW OF PROGRESS for the LAW OF REGRESSION? How much thought life have we given to the past when the present and the future are here in our hand?
What I’ve come to believe today is the insight I had then, was in regards to topics I had interest in then. Now, I find myself with new and different interests which absorb by thought and attention. It’s not that those things I wrote then were so much more insightful than what I could write now, it’s just my interests have changed. I’ve changed. I’ve moved; forward! And in so doing I’ve left behind, in my past, a record of my life of thought which still has the potential to speak positively to influence my present.
Instead of being sad over what I might have lost, I will be happy at what I gathered and gained setting the course of my life to move straight ahead. ~Anne