Research indicates you are likely to remember things more fondly than you may have experienced them. Looking at some pictures of my parents, recently retired, I wonder what their memories are of work. Do they remember the irritation?
Even looking back at my jobs I don’t seem to remember. What I remember as being less than ideal doesn’t seem so bad. I remember colleagues I enjoyed, working in a beautiful building, and walking to work and taking the San Francisco trolley car home. And I remember my life outside of work which my job permitted me to have – used bookstores, the cheap Indian restaurant with unlimited chai, and the occasional weekend trips. I look back and feel lucky I had that life – my time unemployed that gave me perspective, the job experiences that I see coming together to build something greater in the present.
So is it worth it to get so upset over the present when our memories will look different tomorrow? No, maybe not. But if we didn’t take the now as seriously as we do, what would our future look like? If we weren’t invested, making the sacrifices to work late in the evening to get that promotion, take the graduate course to position us for a career transition, or spend the time reflecting and doing the hard work today to find our niche, tomorrow’s outcome would likely not be the same. Yes, we may remember things in a more positive light, but we may also have regret. Regret that we didn’t take a chance, didn’t work hard enough, or didn’t take our desires seriously enough to take risks and figure out fulfillment.