Monday column: Letting go of your past

Opinion Sunday 09/July/2023 20:14 PM
By: Saleh Al-Shaibany
Monday column: Letting go of your past

I AM BEGINNING to think that people with good memory lead a very miserable life. No offence meant but who would like to remember every little detail of the past?  We have enough problems dealing with the present without letting the past muddle up our thoughts.

Though I have a lot of respect for people who keep a diary but I would personally not like to take a peek into my past. This is the reason why I would never write my memoirs because the past to me is fast becoming a very distant blur.  The problem with the times gone by is that they remind you nothing but the crisis and dilemmas that you would rather forget.

Photo - Saleh Al-Shaibany

Don’t get me wrong. I like history but not my own. Wars that have been won by theheroes of the past make fascinating reading but personal battles scrolled in a diary do not. The greatest lesson we can learn about history books is that nobody bothers to read them twice.  Why should you want to recall your schooldays and be reminded of a bully who gave you a torrid time?

The past has no good memories even a happy family trip can remind you of the times that you can never get back. Why waste time delving deep in the recess of your memory when you have a lot to accomplish right now? Although experience is the product of the past but it is best forgotten once lessons have been learned. Letting memories linger on is like leaving an injury untreated to remind you of the fall that you should have avoided. If you look closely, we sometime hesitate making progress when we remember an incident that happened a while ago.

The mistakes of the past and the fear of the future usually are two pivotal reasons that keep us locked within ourselves. If there is no willingness to change then the state of one’s mind becomes more receptive to pessimism. When dark moods begin to settle even the usual sparkle of life starts to die down, and, with it goes the real reason to stay alive.

Unfortunately, not all of us have the ability to lift our heads from gloom of the past. It strikes hard when we least suspect it and spreads its darkness to smolder all hopes. Usually, the seemingly strongest people become victims while the weak come through it unscathed. The signs are always there, though at times, may be difficult to dictate the symptoms. We can help if we see a change of routine or a drastic shift of one’s disposition. No one would come forward and say,” I’m depressed.” It is not that simple because depression is a result of some aspects of the past not dealt successfully.

So should we let our pasts rest in peace? I certainly think so. Clinging to it shrouds our abilities to move on. I know of a man who is now in his late seventies who look fifteen years younger. His secret is simple. He gets rid of anything that is more than five years old in his home, except of course, his family. He never has the time for memorabilias or souvenirs. He says that he never even remember what he had for lunch the day before. Why should he remember about it? He stays thoroughly focused on the present and that what really matters, isn’t it?

It remains that you never have any control of the past so steering away from it makes sense. The only thing you need to remember is your wife’s birthday and the ATM pin number.