No, I didn’t mean to say “20/20”.
It’s easy to look back at when life was a bit easier (AKA “the good ole days”) and compare it to now. There’s a 50% chance that life seemed better a year ago, two years ago, or five years ago. But, there’s also a good chance (let’s say 80%) if that’s the case, that you’re choosing to focus on the best parts of that time in your life, and for the most part, forgetting about the tough parts. Hindsight’s 50/50 because you either romantically focus on the ideal parts of the past, making your present life the short straw compared to it, or, you don’t, and instead make an effort to choose the bad parts of that ideal year too.
In a sense, everything in life can be broken down to the statistical chance of 50/50. Either you will get that one thing in life you’ve always wanted, or you won’t. Either you win the lottery, or you won’t. Either you will live to be 100, or you won’t. One of the few events in life that can’t be assigned the 50/50 status is whether or not you will die at some point; No matter what the percent chance is how you leave this world: by cancer, by car accident, by heart attack, etc.
Last night I watched the final episode of Lost again. One of the most memorable scenes for me was when the protagonist, Jack Shephard, technically in a flash-forward of the future after he had already died, meets his father in the afterlife. “I died too,” Jack says to his father. His father reassures him with a smile, “It’s okay, son… Everybody dies sometime, kiddo. Some of them before you, some of them long after you.”
Whether you ever watched Lost or not, I’m not giving away anything by telling you what happened in the last scene. Because really, for any TV show or movie, ultimately everyone does die- it’s just that that’s never included in the episode. Does Marley die at the end of Marley and Me? Whether he does or doesn’t die at the end, he still has to die sometime. But it’s when a protagonist’s death is included in the script that we are forced to be reminded that beyond each “good time” and “bad time” in our lives, there ultimately is a bigger picture.
We have to choose to focus and dwell on the good parts of life now in this moment. Otherwise, we end up psychologically living in the past when things appeared to be better than they are now, or we live in the future when things will hopefully be better, which is again focusing on a potentially imaginary life. Because at this point, the glorious past and the perfect future are both impossible now. The only thing possible is what is happening right this minute.
Hindsight really is 50/50.
Here is the final scene of Lost; the conversation between Jack Shephard and his father:
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