“I wish I was around back when they released the album, ‘By the Way’, that would have been so cool. They were really good back then.”

Immediately my ears pricked up, this comment had caught my attention and spiked my interest. I was stood in line at one of the world-renowned coffee shops waiting to get my morning fix when I overheard a couple of school kids talking fervently about what I thought had to be one of my favourite bands. When his friend shot back with, “Ah, but it would have been even cooler if we were alive when they released ‘Californication’ and ‘Scar Tissue’ (songs released back in 1999), I knew they definitely were.

For those of you who know your music, you’ll know the band these kids (who were probably somewhere in their early teens) were referring to was the Red Hot Chili Peppers, a band who were deep into their career when I was the same age as these kids. However, in this instance, it wasn’t their clearly exquisite musical tastes that caught my attention. What got me really intrigued was the fact that fifteen or so years ago, my friend and I had pretty much the same conversation whilst discussing the very same band. The only difference being, when we had our discussion back in circa. 2002, we were clambering and gushing over their 1991 album, ‘Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magik’, (yes, that is magik with a ‘k’ – it’s rock n’ roll and the ‘k’ makes it all the more cooler, right?) and how great it would have been to have been sixteen and seen them live back when that album was released.

It was this moment of reminiscing on my part, that got me thinking. Here I was, nearly sixteen years later, in 2018, listening to two young lads talk about how they wished they were able to have seen the Chili Peppers back in 2002 (the era of the band that was ‘mine’). Yet, I recall doing the same thing when I was fourteen. But back in those days we were longing for 1991. Clearly neither generation was fully appreciating the moment we found ourselves in. Now, I know this is related to music. But, it got me thinking, ‘Why do we reminisce?’ – Is it because we’re afraid of the future and afraid of change?

So, what is reminiscing? – “In my day things were better!”

Thoughts of fear have been known to kill a man as speedily as a speeding bullet!  James Allen

How often have you heard someone say, “In my day….” Many a time I have heard my own grandparents talk longingly about the past, reminiscing on simpler times, with smiles on their faces and joyous emotions in their hearts. For a long period of time, I believed it was simply something you did as you got older. But, I’ve come to realise, as my awareness has increased through the Mastermind process, that not only is reminiscing not strictly reserved for old age, it is in fact something I myself have been doing since a young age and clearly something that’s more common than not in a vast majority of the population – something research has supported and a quick glance around you will likely show. As this brief occurrence in the coffee house highlighted. So, what exactly is reminiscing?

It’s defined as, ‘indulging in enjoyable recollection of past events’. For many, it brings back fond memories and particular emotions that are both comforting and reassuring. In effect, it’s our security blanket and takes us out of the stresses and strains of our current reality. This is not necessarily a bad thing in itself as this can release positive energy and endorphins in our body with the result of us feeling happier, more positive and inspired for the future. However, too much of it can lead us into a state of ‘living in the past’ rather than simply remembering it. This can be a very bad thing. For better or for worse, the past is gone. It’s history and as with all history, it is there to be studied, analysed and learned from, so that any mistakes are not made again. It’s not there to be relived. But, if we are to yearn for and live in the past, we miss the beauty and opportunity of the present and the future.

It would appear that what we are actually searching for when we reminisce, is the security that is offered by the known and familiar along with an escapism and avoidance of today’s problems and realities. Just like when we watch old re-runs of our favourite TV shows or films. We know the end outcome, yet we still watch, that is part of the fun…after all, we know what’s coming next.

But, as with many things, as time passes by and the further we are removed from the event, the chances of distorted memory and the rose-tinted glasses effect is increased. When looking back at past events and so called ‘happier times’, we tend to only remember and recall the positive events and happy emotions, whilst forgetting about the negative feelings we experienced. Over time our memory deceives us (either knowingly or not) and we distort the events so much that we forget about the negative emotions, hence when we look back and reminisce we only feel happy emotions. We have effectively singled out one particular ‘happy’ emotion and labelled an era/time period of our lives with it. But, it is likely that this was not the full picture. It’s unlikely to be a true portrayal or accurate reflection of events. In short, that particular time frame may not have been too dissimilar to today’s stresses, uncertainties and reality. The only difference being, that looking back, we are afforded the security of knowing what would happen next and that everything turned out okay, there was no need to worry after all.

But, I believe there’s a bigger question at hand here. Why do we insist on looking back with such fond memories, yet fear the future with apprehension? A brief search into Google and perhaps more importantly into myself brought up one major factor…fear and more importantly, fear of the unknown. Something I will talk into in Part II, in next month’s edition.