Why does everyone regret not appreciating the past?

I’m sure everyone’s heard this at least once in their lives: “Appreciate what you’ve got, you’ll miss it when it’s gone.” It’s usually said when referring to appreciating your youth or free time before you move into this dreaded ‘real life’ and ‘adulthood’. *Shudders*

I do get the reasoning behind it, don’t get me wrong. If you don’t enjoy life where you are now, then you’ll never really be happy. But why is there such a focus on forcing yourself to be appreciative?

My main issue is that it seems to create this air of guilt around younger people, that they’re not appreciating their lives enough for adults to be happy about it.

If you force people to be appreciative and act like they’ve missed out on their only chance to be truly happy before things go downhill then all you’re doing is creating a no-won situation. It’s impossible to not fail at it. How do you know how good you had it until you have a lower point in the future to compare your happiness to?

Happiness is all relative anyway. If we weren’t sad then we wouldn’t see being happy as the great thing that it is. If you’re happy all the time then you’re really being the ‘neutral’ according to you.

If anything, this pressure on ‘appreciating’ your time, however you’re supposed to do that (seriously, just go around saying ‘I appreciate being young and carefree!’ all the time?), just causes us to not be able to appreciate the time we’re in because we’re too worried about not appreciating it enough. And that’s just complicated enough to make sense I’m sure.

I know from personal experience that, even though Christmas is a fantastic day and I love it, I always end up feeling guilty: guilty that I wasn’t as appreciative of my gifts at the time, or of how much work people put in to the day to make it so special. And that just puts a dampener on things really.

I worried all through University that I wasn’t appreciating my time there enough, or that I would regret not going to every club available at the time.

But really, if you just do what makes you happiest in the present, then how could you possibly regret it in the future? Were you the wrong kind of happy? It just wouldn’t make sense.

I think if we shift our focus from being ‘appreciative’ and just be nice people and try as hard as we can to keep on doing things that make us happy then we can’t go wrong.

Just maybe mention your appreciation of your family every now and again, it makes them happy. And we all want to be happy right?

p.s. I know the last post I did in months was a new years resolution to post more, it’s kind of hilariously ironic. But I do mean it. *pinky swear*