Letting go of summer…and other things

(Capture Queen/Flickr Commons)

(Capture Queen/Flickr Commons)

Mike Davies, Editor-in-Chief  Ω

As another summer winds down and I again find myself reticent to let go of it, I thought I’d explore the idea of moving forward in general.

I’m going to try to not be too preachy. This will be more of an examination for my own well-being than it will be to convince you of anything, but maybe you’ll also find it worthwhile. I personally need to explore something right now to gear me up rather than hold me back, but if you get something out of it, I guess that’s okay, too. I hope it doesn’t ramble too much, but I need to work through some things here to get back on track for the upcoming semester.

I suppose it should start with the question of why we even feel this periodic need to reassess and rejuvenate? Why can’t we just stay focused on the future, or, better yet, live life by that old saying about being “in the now” all the time?

“Letting go of the past” is a huge theme in our collective human experience. Why is that? What attaches us so strongly to previous experience that we need things like articles in Psychology Today that are simply lists of inspirational quotes about letting go.

“In the process of letting go you will lose many things from the past, but you will find yourself.” – Deepak Chopra

“Holding on is believing that there’s only a past; letting go is knowing that there’s a future.” – Daphne Rose Kingm

“There’s an important difference between giving up and letting go.” – Jessica Hatchigan

While these pieces of “wisdom” are all well and good, they don’t really shed much light on the whole “why” of the problem. That question being: why do we have such issues with this? Another “why” might be this: why should we do this?

A simple online search of the phrase “letting go of the past,” on the Internet immediately tells you a couple of things.

1. There is a HUGE demand for help in doing this.

2. Women are more interested in this than men are. Whether that’s because men are better at doing it without aid or men just don’t feel the need to do it in the first place, when the majority of articles on a subject are from places like Oprah and Chatelaine, and almost all of the results that come up are women writing on the subject, you can’t just ignore that facet of the issue.

So I’m curious to hear what you think.

Is there some inherent human condition that compels us to hang onto the past long after it’s good (or healthy) for us to do so?

How do we figure out the value in the past? Where’s the line as far as “letting go,” anyway? Don’t we want to keep those memories, even — or perhaps especially — the painful ones to learn from them?

What’s the difference between nostalgia and regret? I know, this one sounds obvious, but fond remembrances and regretful ones aren’t as far apart as you might think. There are many things in my past, for example, that I don’t enjoy thinking about — I’ve had some unpleasantness at times, as have we all — but I recognize them as learning experiences and part of the fabric that made me who I am today.

I certainly don’t regret them — but I definitely wouldn’t say I’d like to relive them.

I’d love for you folks to have your say about letting go of the past, nostalgia, regret or anything else you’d like to say about this — or any other story on there — so we can continue the conversation. Feel free to comment below.

In the meantime, I’m going to try to get a few more rounds of golf in this summer and try to focus on the upcoming year as another adventure to partake in, rather than lamenting all I didn’t get to do this summer.