Y for Yesterday

The word “yesterday” has for me quaint feelings of nostalgia. Could it be fuelled by the words of that old favourite of the same name by the Beatles?  The 1965 song written by Paul McCartney became one of the biggest hits of all time. When I caught myself humming it this morning ( no, not singing it, I am  a lousy singer) I realized it was still appealing despite the five decades and more since it first burst on the charts.

The problem about yesterdays in general is that they are focussed on the past. Dwelling on the past is pointless unless you can do something about it. They say the best lessons we learn come from adversity and out of bad times. If we learn these lessons well, we would have gained from adversity instead of sitting around and waiting for it to happen again. Old phrases like “There’s no use crying over spilt milk” sort of sums it up. No amount of whining can bring back the past. Even if you stand on your head, the day that’s gone by, has gone by.

Interestingly, the word “Yesterday”  conjures up different images from the past not restricted to the day before today! Doesn’t your memory pick up incidents connected from different time periods? Don’t you get carried away from one memory to another until you land up in something that happened many years ago, which you were reminded of because of something that happened yesterday?

I was thinking the other day that people generally fall into two categories: those who are past focussed and those who are future focussed. The former dwell inordinately long in the past. They spend large amounts of time thinking about ‘it might have been” and  “if only I have done this instead of that” and things like that. The same stories and incidents are pulled out, viewed from sixteen different angles and analyzed to death. This is a waste of time, because you can’t do anything about what has already happened.

Those who are future focussed don’t spend much time in the past. They like to think about the future. They look ahead at the things that need to be done. They don’t waste time enjoying the past or bitching about it. They are full  of plans for what lies ahead. The operative word is hope for the future.

I realize that all of us do not necessarily fall squarely in one or the other categories. Surely the person who dwells on the past does think of the future sometimes, even if it is with dread. And yes, the person who thinks of the future also thinks of the past. Usually with a ” I won’t let that happen” again kind of resolve.

It is entirely possible that my state of health has something to do with this philosophy. Having had a heart attack in 2005 and undergone heart surgery in 2010, I guess time has new meaning for me. Every day is there to be enjoyed. Make the most of it because it won’t come back-ever!

I guess no one could have put it better than Khalil Gibran when he wrote “Yesterday is today’s memory. Tomorrow is today’s dream”.