In some way or another we all 'go back' no matter how hard we try and fight it. We go back home for the holidays, we go back to our real lives once they have passed. We go back to our child hood stomping ground, we drive down memory lane, we go back to our old jobs, back to the people and places which hold so much of our history.
I am not talking about simply going home after a vacation (that usually feels amazing) or getting back to work after some time off (this may feel a little less amazing, though it is nice in its own regard) I am talking about going back in life, in time, and memory- leaving the here and now, in a sense, for what once was; what might have been.
There are two schools of thought on going back (there actually many more, but for the sake of time we will look at two)... those who believe you never can, and those who believe you always will. Allow me to explain.
Some say we can never really go back. People, places and things all change; we change (and if we aren't changing we are doing something wrong with our lives). We can physically be in a space which once held fond memories, we can hug an old friend, we can walk the city of our youth, but time will have moved these things along in its ever shifting tides so they are not truly the same as before. Attempting to go back will only result in confusion, desperation, and hurt if we aren't careful.
The other idea, the idea that we always go back, is a bit more complex. People have a desire to know where they come from, to attach themselves to things, building a history of sorts. We long to be a part of something, to feel connected in some way, and therefore we can not help but to go back. We go back and try to make amends for things in our past, we go back to try and rebuild relationships, we go back to prove ourselves. This feels a bit more nobel... a bit more wholesome... but at the end of the day, if we are being honest, neither option is really all that great.
All this energy is wasted, don't you think? The worry over 'redeeming' our youth for example, what good will obsessing over our childhood really do? We have so much present to live! So many days to experience. If we are more worried about going back than about being where we are we will never be able to truly enjoy the life we are living today, right this moment... and in five, ten, fifteen, twenty years, we will be trying to go back to this space in time (it is a vicious cycle).
It is like the final scene in Somewhere in Time (I loved it ok!?) when Christopher Reeves is starving himself and super depressed because he can't go back in time again. Is he happy? NO! He is depressed, and HE DIES (spoiler) because he is so obsessed with this idea of what could have been if only.
Rob Bell once said, "Never under estimate the power of presence"... he was talking about simply being with those around you, being present... though I must say, I think we must first be present within our selves, so that we may better serve those around us by being fully present for them (does your brain feel like a pretzel yet?).
Don't be Christopher Reeves. Live your life, be present. We aren't always perfect and that is ok. We do the best we can every day and that, my dear little munchkins (too much?) is enough.