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The potential curse of good times

My curse

I’ve got moments in my life where things seemed perfect.  The feelings were powerful, my senses fired all at once, and my attitude seemed larger than life.

Everything just seemed to fit.

One of my finest memories was from living in Colombia.  I was driving through the Andes on my motorcycle, the equatorial heat on my arms, the spicy taste still buzzing in my mouth from lunch, and the blue sky opening up into the valleys as I made my way along a country road to a small, colonial town.

Everything got me.

Life was good.

It seemed that I had more exciting things in front of me than bad stuff behind me.

The good time hang over

I think this experience is just as much of a curse as a good time.  It seems I spend a lot of time trying to “get it back”in my mind.

Terms like setting the bar, benchmarks, and standards just got raised implies that it’s an uphill push.  But here’s the catch: it doesn’t have to be.  Pushing hard to recreate what you once had in the past is going to ensure that you’ll never get there.   The more you live in the past, the less you enjoy your present.

That’s the curse of good times. They set the bar and most things in your life will fall short of it.  That 2 hour ride I had in Colombia is a minute fraction of all my experiences in life, so why rank them in comparison?

What if you could take away the comparison?  What if you could do something, enjoy something without ranking it?  What if you could not think “It wasn’t as good as last year, I’m not as happy, it doesn’t taste as good, I wasn’t as good, etc”?

I’m not saying that you won’t have those few special times that really stand out in your mind because you will.

But most of what you do in life will not be mind blowing but it will still be great.  It’s important to recognize the power of what you are doing now without shaming it into the category of “not as good as…”

Question

Are you holding yourself up to the “ghosts of times past”?  What shift could you have if you looked at the pureness of what you are doing right now?  How great could it be?

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6 thoughts on “The potential curse of good times”

  1. Ahh this comparing to the past is most definitely a pitfall. Or another dangerous path is what I call waiting for the other shoe to drop!

    Either one takes me out of the present, where all the fun and satisfaction live, and leave me feeling not enough in some way.

    A shift that works for me is to ask myself one of these 2 questions:
    1. What do I love about my life right now?
    2. What’s going really well today?

    They both snap me back to the present moment and energize me :)

    1. Hi Sandi–What a thoughtful comment. It’s that ability to recognize what you are doing and choose another option. I like how you use the word “snap” :) Thanks, Craig

  2. Craig,
    The good old curse of old times. It’s funny that today I come across your blog and read this post, as just this morning I awoke to a memory of a morning waking up in South East Asia. The whole world was before me and I was in the middle of exploring it’s uncharted territory. It feels so far away now.

    But it hit me that even though I’m not in a foreign country today, there is still plenty of uncharted territory to explore other than physical countries. And that sure, if I want to, I can cling to that moment and say it was so much better than the one I’m in now, but that’s not really anyway to live, is it?

    So cheers to the good old times and the good new times,
    - Laur :)

    1. Hi Lauren–What was the memory of SE Asia btw? Just curious.
      But you are right, territory does not have to be physical and in fact the most rewarding is the subtle and of the mind. Cheers to the good times (old and new). Best, Craig

  3. I think he way to combat this is to set mini-plateaus that will mark progress in your life.

    Example – When I was working at GameStop I was enjoying my job, but I was too broke to buy toilet paper and my friend’s mom kept sending me casseroles. Now I work 100% for myself, and I can buy my own toilet paper and food! The downside is an addiction to boneless wings.

    Last month I was too broke to pay my own rent. This month I have the resources to pay rent and no longer have to depend on my parents for that, which makes me feel awesome.

    Now I’d like to afford a visit to the dentist. You know, in case my teeth are rotting.

    1. HI Corey. I use that idea of plateau a lot and it’s not a bad thing. It’s OK to be on the plateau and it gives a sense of accomplishment and life is not about always either going up or down.
      And like you said, in the beginning, somethings fire (like you being independent of your folks) and some don’t (like the dentist). But over time and by keeping at it (getting to plateaus) they will both get there.
      This takes it out of “the curse of good times” by honouring where you are at that particular point (the plateau) and not constantly looking ahead or behind.
      What a great comment. Thanks, Craig

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