A little while ago, someone said to me that their life was always about going forward. They didn't understand why some people either want or need to understand certain events from their past or why those people might still have fears generated by those situations.
I have thought about this a great deal. Do people focus too much on what has happened to them previously? Is it self indulgent to do so? And I must say I really don't agree. Whatever has happened to you or around you (especially in childhood) is what has shaped you. For better or worse. If you think have the ability to only look forwards, then that in itself, it seems to me, is a learnt skill. A decision not to be affected by events or others. Single minded yes, but necessarily helpful to those around them.
But if that's how you roll, good for you. However, I think many (most?) of us have things from our past which we know affect us still. Whether familial or professional. Over the years, I have spent a fair amount of time with therapists. Post-natal depression turned out to be a bit deeper and becoming a parent raised all sorts of questions about my own upbringing. Even this year, I went to a therapist for a few months because there were things I needed to work through. I felt I needed to learn in order to go forwards.
This blog has often tried to think about how the wider past affects us. I have regularly written about learning from history. Quite recently I wrote that I was seeming more political than family history orientated on the blog but that I felt it was justified in these uncertain times. The thread of family history runs from the past to the future and I feel we have a responsibility to our descendants when it comes to the threat of nuclear war or to the implications of Brexit, etc.
In fact, as I write the news channels are full of the breakthrough of the Far Right in Germany's elections. Buoyed no doubt by the refugee crises and by the racist, sexist White House occupant. If ever there was a reason why we must keep looking back in order to move on, this is it. These people feed on discontent and on each other's bravado and they spread disinformation. I don't believe we should simply face forwards in our personal lives and I definitely don't believe it in our political lives. Learn from history.
[By the way, on a lighter 'the past affects us' note, I still have flashbacks to the vile boss I had at one City job and to certain amateur dramatics humiliations, to name but two. What about you?]