Live For The Future, Not In The Past

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Opinion

Live for the future, not in the past

There is joy in these rough days, and there is joy to come — and there is more value in investing in today than yesterday.

By Tyra Damm

1:30 AM on Jan 15, 2022 CST

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I’ve been guilty of spending too much time in the past.

I’m the target market for those social media memory montages — photos of my then-tiny children in coordinating sweaters or matching pajamas, representing moments we’ll never get back because now they’re 6-foot-4 and 5-foot-7, rarely in the same place and decidedly more opinionated on what they wear.

I’m also known to ask unhelpful questions such as, “Wasn’t it great when kids didn’t have cellphones or TikTok?” and “Remember in the 1970s, when we would just play outside until dinner or dark, whichever came first?”

It’s no surprise, then, that I bristle at the literal meaning of the word nostalgia — pain for homecoming. Appreciating my own past brings me more joy than pain.

Yet my nostalgia can represent a selfish point of view, as “good old days” have been exclusionary and painful for many groups. And these days, I’m afraid that nostalgia for pre-pandemic life will do us little good.

a href="/opinion/commentary/2022/01/01/im-going-into-the-new-year-with-family-board-games-and-a-new-focus-on-balance/"">>Commentary

I’m going into the new year with family, board games and a new focus on balance

By Tyra DammOpinion

Just as life was forever changed on Sept. 11, 2001, those of us fortunate enough to have survived the devastation of COVID-19 are realizing that life will never return to the everyday of, say, January 2020. When we repeat over and over that we want life to return to normal, I think we mean we don’t want to worry about masks or infection rates or hospitalization beds or canceled flights. We don’t want to be inconvenienced or reminded of the fragility of life — which I totally understand.

And it’s easy to wallow in nostalgia when current events have us worried about lines for PCR testing and medical personnel burnout and increased prices for just about everything. (Seriously. Our weekly grocery bill is outrageous right now.)

While most of us pray to never return to 2020 or 2021, we also need to acknowledge that we’re never going back to 2019. The sooner we recognize that, the better off we’ll be. While we’re so busy pining for the past, what are we really missing? We’re less present in the moment — maybe that’s partly what we’re avoiding — and perhaps even sabotaging plans for the future.

We’ve certainly had time to reflect on what we want to keep from these past 22 months. Now, I’m wondering: What do we want to change?

I’m hoping for an increased emphasis on the relationship between emotional and physical health. We all have gained a greater health care vocabulary over the past two years, taking note of specific symptoms, viral shed, mRNA vaccines and more. We’re also more acutely aware of signs of depression and anxiety, especially in young people, at the hands of isolation. I’d love for the conversation to move forward about the link between loneliness and physical health, for example. Even when, one day, we don’t have COVID to worry about, we’ll still need to take care of our bodies and souls.

a href="/opinion/commentary/2021/12/04/the-art-of-finding-light-in-the-darkness/"">>"Olive Trees" by Vincent Van Gogh is on display as part of "Van Gogh and the Olive Groves" at the Dallas Museum of Art.Commentary

The art of finding light in the darkness

By Tyra DammOpinion

I’m also looking forward to equity action. Which populations were the hardest hit not only by the virus but also by the economic fallout? What support do those groups need moving forward so that we can all enjoy the benefits of more people participating and succeeding?

And I continue to hope for strengthened relationships regardless of politics, economics or religion. I’ve recently joined a group of women who represent multiple world religions and gather to share not only their points of view as shaped by faith tradition but also their questions, joys and sorrows. There is so much important work to be done in our communities, and it happens when we join together, acknowledging our differences while moving toward common goals.

I’ll be honest. I will always look at old photos and sigh or smile, maybe cry. I will always be a little wistful for those moments that warm my heart. But I also know that there is joy in these rough days and there is joy to come — and there is more value in investing in today than yesterday.

Tyra Damm is a Briefing columnist. She can be reached at i">>tyradamm@gmail.com.

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Tyra Damm

Featureddiv">>

Authorities will provide update on Colleyville synagogue hostage incident

div">>Colleyville police Chief Michael Miller addresses reporters in a nearby parking lot after the conclusion of a SWAT operation at Congregation Beth Israel synagogue on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, in Colleyville, Texas. All four people taken hostage inside the synagogue during a morning service were safe Saturday night after an hours-long standoff, authorities said. (Smiley N. Pool/The Dallas Morning News via AP)div">>

Here’s where billions in PPP cash meant for workers actually ended up going

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