When you feel good about yourself, you have a normal relationship with your past. Every now and then, with great pleasure, you think back to:

– the beautiful time in your youth

– going to camp with the football club

– the beautiful summer days

– the campsite in France

– the time when the children were still small


And that’s fine. You still enjoy the beautiful things that have been.

However, if you don’t feel so good about yourself, things can be different. You can then long even more for that which has been. Melancholy, homesickness and melancholy can then dominate your mood.

The same goes for me.

With melancholy I can sometimes look back on my childhood in Limburg, where my mother cooked, my friends were around the corner, where the sun always shone and we played in the woods around Venlo.

That was the time without worries, without burnout, without problems and responsibility… So nice and what a shame that this time no longer exists and how I would love to go back to 1990… in which this took place.

Feelings of sadness, loss and sadness then easily get a grip on me. And because I already don’t feel very well, I go from the rain to the drip. It gets worse…… I feel myself getting sadder and more pathetic.

And that takes so much energy….time to deal with that.


With my psychologist I started thinking about what I am doing, with this urge for the past. I’ve drawn that in a diagram below, maybe that will make the insight a bit easier (still adding)..

I am feeding the melancholy, with the result that it is getting bigger and bigger. By looking up photos of my childhood, listening to music from that time, or signing up for facebook groups “from the past” I get more and more the sad feeling of losing the past.

This can have two major consequences:

1) I’m getting sadder and more tired

2) I lose sight of the NOW and don’t see the beautiful things of NOW anymore

Both consequences that can ruin your life quite a bit. Something needs to be done about this and I describe the changes I can make below.


What can you change? In my view, there are four things.

1) You’re getting sadder and sader….

If you step out of your bubble of sadness and self-pity for a moment, you also know that you romanticize this time enormously. Because that’s what’s happening… You romanticize the past. So much so that you don’t see the negative things of the past anymore and you long for something that, perhaps, never was.

For example:

– fillings at the dentist (without anesthesia)

– holiday in France, where we were blown away

– that we as youngsters were going to cut asparagus (what a sh*t job)

– that we hammered asbestos sheets on a barn

So maybe I’m imagining that way too romantic NOW.

It just might be.

2) I’m losing sight of the NOW

Losing the beauty that is there NOW, there is a lack. You are only living NOW. So you should check out that you enjoy everything that makes NOW special. Looking for beautiful things that are going on NOW. If you get stuck in the past, you will miss the NOW and you will regret it later.

So don’t do that… don’t lose it NOW!!

I had something like that the other day. Our children are now 18+ and don’t want to go on holiday with us anymore. Immediately, in a kind of melancholy spasm, I went to the past. How beautiful it was in France (in 2014), how nice when they were still small, etc…..

Until I realized that the time I have with our children NOW will ever really be over. So I have to enjoy them NOW and create beautiful moments NOW. Instead of getting stuck in sadness and self-pity and thus no longer seeing the beautiful things of the NOW.

What has helped me is creating a notebook. In which I briefly describe every evening why this was a beautiful day and what I am looking forward to tomorrow. This is how I train to focus on the NOW, apart from the past. And I feel more comfortable.

3) Unwind

If you are so tired that you are drowning in the past, you should immediately pull the brakes and get yourself back in balance. Take a break and refuel. Here too, you can apply my self-invented tactic, of an app with rain music and lying fallow for a while. Relax, take a break and bring all thoughts to a standstill.

4) Stop the power supply

Stop feeding your melancholy. Stop with facebook groups about the past, stop visiting reunions, leave out the pictures from the past, etc. You are only reminded of that which has been. As a result, the grief is increasing.

You could try to consciously keep this up for a while. As a result, you train yourself and grow out of this grip of the past.


By doing so, you will deal with the past in a more mature way. You still have the beautiful memories, but you deal with them in a more normal way. You can dose them.

You also grow into someone who is more concerned with the NOW. You can stay in the time when the children were small, but you can also think that they will soon be out of the house and you have to make the most of them NOW. So live in the NOW


I keep track of what was fun every day and what I’m looking forward to tomorrow. That way I avoid getting stuck in the past.

I’m growing into what is important NOW… and don’t live in the past anymore. I just feel the confidence that this is more fun than getting stuck in the past.


Beautiful memories are nice to have, enjoy them. Yet, live in the NOW … That’s where you make the best memories for later.