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A Glance Over the Shoulder

By Roderick Reed
By Roderick Reed

Within one 15-minute period recently I received word of the deaths of my 101-year-old great grandfather and the beloved husband of my next-door neighbor. Time is the enemy. It is now 2016 and another year has passed. Question. Is the past superior to the future or present?

On New Year’s Eve I had some fun visiting the past. My wife and I along with some friends went to see the very last performance of Motley Crue. I felt like a 15-year-old with the mind of middle-aged guy. It was perfection. The stage show was awesome and old school. Flames shot into the air in a heated pyrotechnics show. I was dazzled at the sight of drummer Tommy Lee playing drums upside down above the crowd hoisted by a roller coaster like engineering marvel. There were leather clad dancers and fireworks. In the present, many performers do not even dress up for the occasion or put on a show. The days of a stage show are one of the great things about the past. Motley Crue was born in Los Angeles in 1981, and died among loyal fanfare in the first minutes of 2016.

Death or the end or something stands out a little more the older you get. I like to mourn what was here and is not anymore. I miss our bookstore Fahrenheit 451 or having a movie theatre downtown. Many famous people moved from the present into the past this year, including three notable Orange County folks: musician Scott Weiland, Robert Schuller and Henry T. Segerstrom. When I was a kid I remember the economy was dying, disco died and even the president of the United States was looking death in the face after being shot. It is hard to know if the present is good or not. By the time you figure it out, it has become the past.

The future on the other hand has too many questions attached to it. The future is making me increasingly uncomfortable. For instance who will be president, what lame fashion will come out of its hole in 2016, will Apple actually innovate anything this year? Things from the past are comforting and reliable. Some would say the young don’t care about the past because they don’t have one. I wonder if it’s because the young are always wide-eyed looking forward to what the future has in store.

Perhaps I’ve been looking at this subject wrong. A new year can be a wonderful thing. Soon there will be a new Superbowl, World Series and a Tour de France! I always look forward to concerts in Bluebird Park. This new year will also bring the Oscars, the Emmys and a new swimsuit issue! Yes, I am starting to understand now, this year many memories will be made. Our sons, daughters and grandchildren will enjoy a first kiss, or enjoy a first year of college or kindergarden. This year a young person will discover a band that they will love and listen to. In the future they will rediscover it and play it for their kids in the car despite complaints. The future does indeed have some merit. I have forgotten that 2016 will bring a new president, possibly a pay raise at the newspaper and several new car models will come out.

When you appreciate the future in advance, the present and future are at least as exciting as the past. I now realize that moving forward looking through the windshield is better and safer than trying to progress staring into the rearview mirror. My resolution in 2016 is to embrace the present and future, which after all will become a memory from the past as soon as tomorrow.

 

Roderick Reed owns REEDesign Interiors in Laguna Beach. He lives in town with his wife Kathy and two sons Mason and Jack. http://roderickreed.com/.

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