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MissA's avatar

Why do things in your past seem larger than life, and bring you more joy or sorrow?

Asked by MissA (7391points) August 8th, 2010

There seem to be many defining moments in one’s past which set the stage for the future. First girl or boyfriend…things your children did which caused you pain or made you smile…family chapters…jobs…even music of a certain genre. I didn’t realize how much so, until landing on fluther.

Why do you suppose things from the past continue to be the backboard from which we measure the rest of our lives?

In many cases, the past seems almost ‘sacred’.

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8 Answers

TexasDude's avatar

Experiences in the formative years define individuals because they most often occur when said individual is still mentally developing and thus make a huge impression.

Aside from that, I think you answered your own question with this quote: “Why do you suppose things from the past continue to be the backboard from which we measure the rest of our lives?”

Humans love comparison. We like to use established events and feelings as a measuring stick or a comparative for other similar events, feelings, and ideas.

MissA's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard Yes, that’s my opinion. I didn’t mean to be so blatant about it! I wonder what others think…or, what related thoughts might emerge.

Thank you, Mr. Fiddler.

TexasDude's avatar

@MissA, no problem, ma’am!

Austinlad's avatar

Beautifully put, *Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard. This has been a favorite personal topic of mine all my life.

How lucky we are that events remembered with joy overshadow the sadness we recall about the bad ones. I often think if we could return to the past we would be sorely disappointed about some of the things we have glamorized. If you’re interested in exploring this idea, find the movie/play called “The Star Wagon” with Orson Bean (whom I actually had the pleasure of trading letters with about this lovely performance in this).

TexasDude's avatar

@Austinlad, thank you kindly. Same here.

BoBo1946's avatar

My sophmore year in high school was a defining moment in my life. I grew up in an afflulent town and I was “dirt poor!” I decided to go out for the basketball team that had 7 seniors. I was just hoping to make the B-team. The B-team plays a limited schedule and made up of mostly sophs. Well, I made the first team on the A-team. Started the first game of the season with 4 seniors. I beat out 3 seniors. To say the least, I was not a popular person on the team at the beginning of the year, but that changed. Making a long story short, at the end of the year, was picked as a first team All Conference.

Again, that was a defining point in my life. I had worked very hard and it paid off. It also gave a very poor country boy from an abusive home, some hope. From there, my senior year made All-State and received a grant in aid four year scholarship (everything was paid for…books, tutituion, room, board, and $15 month laundy money…back then, $15 would go a long ways) to a major university in the Southeastern Conference. Played all four years and lettered three years, and most importantly, got a college education. Not bad, coming from a family where no one even finished high school.

Battousai87's avatar

i think the biggest reason that things seem to be so much bigger of seem to have so much a greater impact on how our lives have been shaped in the past because we are looking at it from the future.

we can’t really see the impact of those little things, dating a particular person, o rchoosing a particular college course and so on when we are in the momment, who knows we may have come to the decision at the time w the flip of the coin. then once we are involved with it or we are eventually looking back on it we see what has happened or been possible because of that instant in time, no matter how small,even though we missed it in the first place.

my family has a saying (not sure if it’s ours or if it’s from somewhere else but my family is the only ones who i’ve heard say it) the saying is “hindsight is always 20/20” meaning that we never really see the whole picture until we look back on it. just like any other discovery, until we found it or it happened we didn’t know it existed but now that it does and we look back and think about it we can understand it better and see how it made us who we are today.

Strauss's avatar

I recently realized that the my life up to now can be divided into three major periods of learning, or chapters, if you will.

Chapter 1: Age 0–22
The Formative years. A lot of learning, training and preparation for life (obviously).

Chapter 2: Age 23–39.
The Artistic years. Learning, honing and perfecting my heart and my art.

Chapter 3 : Age 40–62.
The Married years. Learning the ups and downs of partnership and fatherhood.

As I approach my 62nd birthday and our 22nd anniversary, I look forward to learning even more about life, and I hope the stories, lessons and memories I share are received as more than just the ramblings of an old geezer.

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