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The Good Old Days. You look back on these days and think how great they were.

High school was great. All you did was talk and party. There were never any problems. No one did bad things. We worked hard and loved it. Uphill both ways...

College was the best. In fact, heaven couldn't hold a candle to college. Utter freedom and satisfaction.

Being young was great. You had the world in your hands. Everyone liked you. You were so good looking.

Being single was great. Being able to go from partner to partner and having such freedom.

Life was great before the kids. You and the spouse were alone and could do whatever you wanted.

Life was great before the kids left. Now you are so lonely.

The past always seems the best. The problems you had, assuming you remember them, seem silly and unimportant. Of course, the problems you have now are very important.

Don't idealize the past. The past wasn't fundamentally better than the present. Your sadness in the past was as real as your happiness or your current melancholy. Maybe then you can relate with younger generations better.

The past surrounds us in a subtle clue, unfolding our true selves. Origami sculptures without the mystery. A "now" that becomes a "once was." A part of us that is left to be forgotten in each manipulated fold we possess that will affect who we will ever become, knowing that with one absent crease, we are permenantly afflicted, unless a true artist can come along and shape us into happiness.

The past may drain you of human perception, and crust your heart with jagged edges, dry your oozing love, dim your bright hopes, and sound your heart's loud beat, all for the pure satisfaction of manifesting you. Spear after spear, it victimizes your soul until you are left hollow.

The past reminds us that there was a point in time that were content, that being alone seemed so short compared to the joy of sharing and communicating. We are smitten by our emotional ties to the past.

Make a martyr of yourself
Within yourself
Then save yourself
At the last moment
Otherwise losing all those moments
And never finding them again

The past is a tricky subject. We can adjust the camera angles to make it look wonderful, godawful, empty or memorable. Like using statistics to lie about reality, adjusting our perspective on the past allows us to use the past for whatever reasons we choose. Gathering with old friends we can discuss the past as "the good old days." Talking about past relationships with a new flame we can compare the past to an unfulfilling experience in the light of present day magic.

When you only have yourself to answer to, you can warp the past quite handily. Want to feel sorry for yourself? Accent your sorrow with specially selected memories that spotlight personal failures and disappointments. Want to dance around the room naked with loud music in the background celebrating the wonderful human being you believe you have become? Reach into the memory bag for those moments where you overcame the odds or scored an achievement that meant something to you.

Excuse me a minute
Did you say something about honesty?
I'm not sure I know what you mean
My memory feels a little hazy
What good is honesty
With modular memories?

Being truly honest with ourselves about the past takes a little more effort than we are usually willing to exert. You can take memories from one part of the past, mix them together with memories from another part, add a memory you aren't sure you remember quite right and smile. Why would you trouble yourself with honesty when that kind of fulfillment is available? Is this kind of honesty even really important?

Good question, Simone. Thank you for asking. This is a question we don't really know the answer to, because usually we don't lie to ourselves about the past. We just remember it differently and incompletely. Talking to an old friend about how good it was when you could sit on the back porch drinking and watching the sun go down is a pleasant journey into the past. We conveniently forget that we were with our friend on that porch because we lost our job, our car broke down or we had just broken up with the most beautiful person on the planet and needed to drink away that memory.

Living on the window's edge
Perspective smells like chocolate
Taken with coffee tastes like mocha
Taken with beer it doesn't taste so sweet
Sometimes looking out the window
We see better without any glasses

The past is a cruel servant, be it a sexy little French maid or a staggering hunchbacked gardener who stutters constantly. It often looks better in the rear view mirror. It is an ocean so deep and so wide that we can find a memory for all seasons beneath its waters. If we try to recall it completely in all of its details, from victory to defeat and every shelf in between, then we see a story beginning to develop. It is a story of the journey we made to get where we are today. Without the past, we would not be in the present. We would be somewhere in a dream.

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