My father left the military over 25 years ago. He left the position he loved therein nearly 40 years ago. I would say that a lot of those four decades were spent reminiscing and the most recent decade almost lost in the past.
He had much to be proud of and saw conflict that you can’t neatly leave behind when it’s over. In different times and different parts of the world, he and I had similar enough experiences that we shared an understanding that went beyond words. Where Dad carried his past around to remind people of who he was, I’m saddened that he never seemed content with who he became.
The past, when you look back at it, won’t be what it was then. You’ll see things differently with the benefit of hindsight. Knowing what you miss now, what you had then will seem sweeter in recollection than it did in the moment. There are lessons to be learnt from the past, but we mustn’t spend too much time there or we miss the present.
The bits we felt were the best we can endeavour to carry forward; what we can no longer carry with us, we can celebrate and then create more cherished memories. Be here, with the best version of you that’s available now.