Charles Dickens said, “these are the best of times; these are the worst of times.”
How can it be both?
One way to interpret this is to say that it depends on who you are and what your life experiences are. For some, the past held the best of times, and the present holds the worst.
And for the pragmatists amongst us, admittedly, I am one, the present is where we live. Therefore, by definition, regardless of who we are, the present is both the best and the worst of times.
At this point, if you haven’t already quit reading, you are probably asking yourself, “what is she even talking about?”
Earlier this week, I was in conversation with a friend and fellow coach about the attraction many people have toward attending their high school reunions. These reunions allow the attendees to revisit the past, thus providing perspective on both the past and the present. Yet, some of us have never attended, or if we have, we didn’t find it to be the magical experience that it was for others.
As we discussed this more, I remembered my mother’s choice when my father died. He was the love of her life, yet she put away all her photos of him. If my sister hadn’t rescued the albums, they would be gone.
One reaction to this story is, OMG, how could she? Another is perhaps it was too painful for her to look at him. And a third is she was someone who chose to live in the present; the past was, well, the past.
- What is the difference between these perspectives?
- Does the question of whether these are the best of times or the worst factor into the difference?
- Is it a function of our life experience, or is it a function of our philosophical view of the world?