The Value of Looking Foward
Periodically I stop by historic sites and ponder the efforts of those who’ve brought us to this point in our lives and in our country’s development. Each time I get a bit melancholy wishing I could have been there. But I snap back to the present realizing the value of looking forward as well, a value unquestionably greater than looking back.
I have had the honor of owning an historic home, located on land formerly owned by President George Washington but built in 1935 as part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. The town in fact is named Eleanor for the First Lady. I sometimes gaze at the woodwork hoping to connect to the builders and planners. I am wistful and I understand the passion of those wanting to preserve this past.
Nostalgia fuels that passion. Nostalgia of a simpler time when children played in the yards and parents gardened to put healthy food on the table.
What we don’t feel in these historic homes is the despair of the depression. We don’t feel the worry of parents whose children were underfed and wore ragged clothes. And because their tomorrow is well known to us we are free of all uncertainty. Gazing at the woodwork I am freer than those who lived here. If only they knew what we do their lives would have been far less stressful.
Our stress is no different from theirs. We are uncertain about our future. Our finances, our relationships are as unknown as our ancestors. But one day – long after you’re gone – someone may stand in your home and wish for what you had.
Know that you can view your future with the certainty of every other person who will come after you. But to do so you must not look back to a time you can’t possibly experience. The value of looking forward can only be enjoyed when you know that everything will – will – turn out alright.
Tim Sharp is a lecturer at Ohio University and the Director of Curriculum for TSOD.com – Training Services On Demand a corporate and government training company.