If you get a chance to see the soon to be released Kings of Summer, one of this year’s Sundance Film Festival’s offerings, you won’t be disappointed. Unless, that is, you don’t like American coming of age dramas, in which case you might be best advised to steer well clear. But, for the purposes of this post, let’s assume this type of film does float your boat. Reminiscent of Stand by Me and set, in the main, in a house in the woods that three teenage friends built together, it covers the well-trodden territory of friendships made and broken, turbulent parent-child relationships and first love. The script is both funny and poignant, the setting charming and the actors superb; in particular the three boys who are the focus of the film. In short, it’s an engaging snapshot of the innocence of youth.
Ah, the innocence of youth; a time when everything seemed possible, the endless road of life stretching into a distance too far away to see and therefore too far off to worry about. There were immediate concerns, of course – like who was going on dates with whom, how you could get out of gym class and whether you could procure some vodka for the party at the weekend – but in the main it was so simple then. Wasn’t it? Or was it?
Remembering the past with fondness is a good thing because, whether good or bad the things that happened to you then have shaped the person who you are today. But clinging onto the past and believing that things were better than they are now isn’t healthy. What’s even worse is if you feel the best phase of your life is past, that you’ll never look as good again, or be as carefree, joyous or happy-go-lucky.
The passage of time makes it all too easy to forget the negatives and re-paint the past with a rosy hue that wasn’t always (if ever) present. When things go wrong in life it’s easy to revert to happier times in our thinking and to ardently wish we could rewind the clock and do it all again – only this time making different choices to avoid making the same mistakes.
But if you find yourself flooded with nostalgia about days gone by, ask yourself this: If you could choose to flick a switch and be your fifteen year old self again, go through your adolescence again, warts and all, would you take it – really? Or would you rather keep the memories of roaming the woods with best friends, long summers and first kisses as just that – memories to be treasured, but not pored over as examples of better times?
No matter how old you are the future seems far too far away to see. Who knows what adventures still lie ahead of you? And how many opportunities you’ll miss by always looking back?