It sometimes seems that families (and friends and just about anyone) keep each other in the past. We get together and recall some of the same stories about people’s faults, successes, and embarrassments. Recalling helps us connect with each other. We remember shared experiences. But we can also spend so much time and energy recalling what has happened in the past that we keep people there.
We do the same with people’s favorites. We get the same type of Christmas gift for someone year after year because they were thrilled with it one year. We find out someone’s favorite restaurant so we meet there again and again or give them gift cards even though their lifestyle, preference, or diets have changed. Of course, some favorites endure, but many do not.
Remembering is good but we can’t keep people in the past. We can’t repeat their favorites as if those will always be their favorites. We can’t continue a tradition, assuming it has always been or will always be. Traditions started somewhere and likely aren’t as longstanding as we think. We must be willing to move forward, explore, listen, and make new memories. We need to continually get to know each other. We change and grow, and we need to invite people to share their process (or leaps) with us. And we need to be willing to share our process with others as well.
Stagnancy isn’t productive, and it’s not realistic. We don’t want others holding us in the past any more than we like someone holding our head under the water. It’s stifling. We can celebrate the past and recall it with laughter and sadness, but we don’t have to stay there. We need to make more memories in the here and now. We need to remember well…and move on.