We often talk about good ole' days. From my interactions with people, in general, "things were good" back then.
Everything was peaceful. No worries, no competition, no unwarranted anxiousness. Just fun. I remember spending most of my time playing some kind of games with kids in my neighborhood.
And now as I take time to think about what has changed, a few things come to my mind immediately.
1. No smartphone/technology
Yes, there was a peaceful period back then when nobody was looking at their phone incessantly. We didn't need to look at Facebook or Instagram for a quick dose of dopamine. Instead, we went on an adventure and thought about some more novel ways we can have fun.
People say time goes quicker as they age. I also feel the same. But last time I checked, time doesn't really go quicker. We are not moving at the speed of light. It's just our perception has changed. I didn't understand when I was younger (lol) but I agree with them, time to time. But why is this the case?
Did we get busier? Probably yes.
Are we more frustrated? Also true. School, work, blah blah blah
In general, I think people have less expectation on themselves and on others when they are young.
I was busy learning about the world through a repeated process of trial and error and likewise, all my friends were doing the same.
There's no objective standard to judge people. Their pedigree, wealth and appearance didn't come into play when we were deciding who would be a cop and a robber.
Aka, not much to worry about, thus happy life.
Now as we mature
we see successful people (often fake or biased image portrayed on media) and start comparing ourselves. When our reality is below our expectation, we feel frustrated.
Even when we exceed our goal, we immediately raise our hurdle and start pushing ourselves further. And this process repeats. It's almost like chasing a rainbow. Seemingly doable, but never possible.
But during that time, the emotional burden that arises from the discrepancy between our expectations and where we are today frustrates us.
To visualize, it would look something like this.
Given that the whole process is like chasing a rainbow, what can we do about it?
The first obvious answer
would be try harder. Push yourself more in this ever competitive society and catch that rainbow. But I haven't yet heard/seen anybody who succeeded in capturing rainbow yet. Light moves a bit faster than golden snitch, and it took a tremendous effort for harry to capture one. Maybe time will tell, but for now, it doesn't seem like a sustainable answer.
Maybe lower guidance?
I think that's where meditation kicks in. Focus on your present moment and worry less about the future.
I started to buy into this idea more and more, and I occasionally meditate (my life hasn't changed yet). But the more I think about this approach, the more it makes sense.
After all, I feel like our good ole days were better because we didn't care about the future. If anything, we had to worry about homework and that was it.
There are lots of things to worry about. On top of that, we can worry about worrying about that. Rest assured, we aren't ever going to run out things to worry. So perhaps a better way to fight this would be to isolate the noise and focus on what's happening right now, right in front of me.