It’s funny how simply getting older can change your perspective on things.
When I was a teenager and in my early 20s, I never understood ‘Old People’s’ fascination with history. Not being able to see the forest from the trees, it was like, ‘Quit living in the past and live in the moment’.
But now as I creep towards (or are already are there with some people’s perspective) the ‘Old People’s’ age, as I am at middle age, I realize how wrong I was.
That became even more into focus for me when I shot a photo spread of Lomond’s 100th anniversary this past Saturday and the numerous other events in my life focused on local history.
As a long line formed for people to buy history books involving Lomond’s 100 years of existence, it finally hit me.
Without the respect of our past and the lessons learned, how can we have a healthy future?
Had we not had those brave souls from our past, would slavery be around today, would women still be refused the right to vote, would we still have residential schools?
Closer to home, would Taber be twice the size it is today if some critical decision hadn’t been made in the town’s past for infrastructure and economic growth, or inversely, would we be a ghost town if not for the irrigation pioneers of our past?
Innovation after innovation has been made to make society into what it is today. Big changes and small, it has all accounted for who we are today.
There are several other events locally that help celebrate history, including this past weekend’s Pioneer Days in Barnwell and the air cadet squadron will be celebrating its 75th year of existence in 2017. I myself will be going to a family reunion in Las Vegas in early August, where five different family bloodlines will be celebrated in which I am very much looking forward to.
Remembering history exercises our minds as we recall our pasts and whatever your age, you can appreciate it. It can go from those Canada Days where veterans remember those men that were in the foxholes beside them, to a teenager whose knees are still weak remembering their first real kiss at a party in middle school or high school just earlier that month, from the person they’ve had a crush on forever.
First kisses, first loves, first child, first ‘adult’ job, first pet, however big or small a life lived, there are many rich memories filled with trials, tribulations and triumphs that can be recalled through history. Maybe it’s through a history book like those found at Lomond’s 100th anniversary or it is simply recalling over a pint that funny time Uncle Murray did some breakdancing at a wedding.
And however privileged or tough one’s past has been, learning valuable lessons from that past can be a big determining factor if one’s past remains the same as one’s future — for better or worse.
I look upon my past and see how many lives have come and stayed and gone through it, laughs shared, tears shed, things both succeeded and failed at, and am thankful for it, with all the smiles and scars wrapped up into one.
I guess living in the past can have its drawbacks.
That girl that got away that you can’t quite shake from your mind, or that high school star quarterback who thinks if he hadn’t of suffered that knee injury, he’d be making seven figures in the NFL right now.
But remembering one’s past and learning from it and foraging ahead can make for a brighter future. Can a bully in high school know the error of their ways, or will it creep into adulthood? Will those who were terrorized get a backbone and perhaps fight for the little guy when in adulthood for a job?
Remembering one’s history does not just give the warm and fuzzies or serve as heartache, but it can build the bridges to a sturdier future.
History is simply not just living in the past, it is helping us move forward with our family, friends and acquaintances.
History has helped define us to who we are at this point and helps mold our future.
Now I finally see what the draw is for history buffs.