Posted May 22, 2022
Originally posted May 23, 2011 and shared again here with updates and revisions
From Pontiac by Damon Johnson“. . . Time goes by, I guess that’s how it goes . . . I get lost sometimes in the memories, thinking back to the way things used to be . . ."
It’s a natural thing for those of us in the Baby Boomer generation – and older – to reflect on our lives and our pasts as we head ever deeper into the south side of the circle of life. Those younger than us – and even those of our generation who aren’t quite so reflective in their thoughts – say that we’re living in the past. While that may be true for some, I really don’t think that is the case for most of us.
I believe that, as we take stock of where we are in life (the good, the bad and the ugly), the obvious progression of our thoughts takes us back in time as we reflect on the various causes and effects that have brought us to where we are today. I do that a lot but not in a frame of mind of bitterness or regret – though I do regret some of the decisions I’ve made throughout my life. For the most part, I just like to remember and reflect on the lessons learned from those times and see how they can apply today.
There’s an old saying that says something to the effect of, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” I think that there’s a lot to be gained for ourselves and those whom we influence by engaging in healthy reflection and introspection from time to time. Doing so causes us to dust off the lessons of our past and apply what was learned in new and relevant ways.
I also think that there is something inherently healthy – though I’m not exactly sure why – in just reflecting for no other reason but to remember.
When I visit Arizona or even as I live here in Tennessee, I love visiting certain places that are landmarks in my memories. If I have time (especially during those visits to Arizona), I just like to drive around aimlessly to see what I come across that jars a memory from my past.
While in either state, it’s not uncommon for me to roll down the windows of the car and just breathe in the air of my surroundings. Sometimes, aromas of the moment take me back in time. In Arizona, it can be the soothing aroma of orange blossoms in the spring or the smell of the desert after a rare, refreshing rain. It takes me back to when I first moved to Phoenix as a nine-year-old boy or friends from days gone by. I’ll remember school days, dates, proms, and dances and other major events in my life. I’ll remember all that was good, wholesome, innocent, and sweet.
I’ll just remember.
Here in Tennessee, it can be the smells of the trees, farms and fields that embrace me from both sides of the road as I drive, soaking it all in, not wanting to miss a thing and, in some ways, never wanting the moment to end. Like Phoenix, I remember school. I remember visiting family, playing with cousins, roaming the woods, and riding horses. I remember the precious few moments with my grandparents, aunts, and uncles – most of whom have already left this world. I remember dates and funny stories that always bring a smile - if not a chuckle.
Again, I just remember.
This kind of reflection brings home the sobering fact that time has flown by so fast without us realizing its speed. While that will undoubtedly make us wince and shake our heads in disbelief, it also serves as a reminder to live each day to the fullest, creating more memories that we can get lost in sometime in the future. We’ve got to live for the moment.
Oh, and if you’re ever in Phoenix, Arizona, or East Tennessee, and you see some dern fool driving around with his head hanging out of the window, sniffing the air? Just ignore me. I’m just remembering, and I won’t be there long.