CALDWELL: Love for past shouldn’t stifle our future

Published 2:54 pm Thursday, January 16, 2020

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Perhaps as much as anything else in life, extreme nostalgia can be a double-edged sword, cutting sharply as the antithesis of progress.

It is human nature to long for the past and look back fondly on our memories, although we forget they get idealized and the rough edges are sanded off by the passing of time.

There is nothing wrong with reliving our youth through old television shows, hobbies, visiting old haunts or using the time machine that is music to recapture some forgotten past.

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In some ways, nothing else is quite as uplifting and cathartic.

The most important question remains. When does nostalgia go too far?

Sadly, many people pine for an era that is irreversibly gone — for better and worse.

We will never return to a time when social issues were clearly black and white. Gone are the days where you could trust a total stranger. Business models have changed with big box corporations replacing the mom and pop stores of old and this isn’t likely to return anytime soon.

Certainly, the newspaper is on the front lines of this.

One of the things we hear the most is, “I remember when the newspaper…”

Even being in my mid-40s, I could finish that sentence in a variety of ways. I am sure readers who have a few more decades on me could probably double or triple the list.

But it simply isn’t productive or constructive, when considering the newspaper or the rest of the changes in our society, to live in the past.

That isn’t the world we live in today.

The challenge we all face in a myriad of ways is to embrace that nostalgia while not letting it harden into inflexibility and the refusal to accept change.

Nothing is wrong with loving, reflecting on and celebrating the past.

But we cannot allow that to detract from being the best versions of ourselves in the future.

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Jessamine Journal and Jessamine Life magazine. He can be reached at (859) 759-0095 or by email at