I realized something: I don’t reminisce; I analyze.
By reminisce, I mean something like, “bask in the warm glow of a remembered past.” In contrast, when I think about my past, I examine my memories to better understand the choices I made in light of the circumstances I faced. The goal is to edify rather than to aggrandize or debase.
Why did I do this rather than that? What factors affected my decision? What factors were under my control or beyond my control? Could it had been different? If it had been different, what might have resulted, how might I have resulted?
When I was young (say, late teens/early twenties) I do remember reminiscing. I also remember promising myself very early on that I would not spend the rest of my life looking back on the past as the best years of my life. The best days are yet to come, I firmly resolved. They are always yet to come.
I’m tempted to say I rid myself of the habit of reminiscing as a reaction to and against the baby boomers’ perpetual rearward aggrandizing I was forced to endure. Although my reaction against this experience was an important factor, I don’t think it was decisive. I analyze rather than reminisce because I discovered — almost accidentally — that an honest and careful analysis of my memories greatly improves my day-to-day well being. I don’t bask in the warm glow of a remembered past because, thanks to some work, I bask instead in the warm glow of now and the illimitable possibility of the future.
I should also say: I’m not claiming it is necessarily wrong to reminisce. I claim only that analysis is more useful for me.
Do you reminisce or do you analyze? Why?