All of us possess a past.

When we look back, some days seem triumphant while others are viewed more as downers.

I actually see life’s long journey as a precarious “scales of justice” metaphor with masks of both comedy and tragedy.

That past leaves a delicate imprint, does it not?

For me, it goes beyond nostalgia. The past might subdue paranoia and diminish the unwanted scars of trauma.

As I’ve thought about my own past and the journey I’ve taken, it’s helpful to rename my personal history as “yesterdata.”

For me, this “data” is filled with vivid milestones that gave shape to who I am today. It is the same for all of us.

“Yesterdata” requires being honest with ourselves since we all suffer speed bumps. These are the areas to query within ourselves. Here are just a few of the influences that help shape our lives and ways we “collect data” in our own histories.

Family impact — What parent had the greater influence on our value system? What about on our sense of self-discipline? How did your siblings play a role in your upbringing, value systems and imprint on life?

Schooling — How would our peers remember us? Which subject was your favorite and why? Where did it lead you?

Career choice — Who were our role models? How did we decide the career path to take? What proved to be the trait that was most effective at work?

Marriage — As teens, what quality were we most attracted to? What ultimately drew us to our mate? Have there been major changes over the years, and how does it affect you?

These questions can form the framework to review our journey in life. It can constitute a valued gift for family and friends, while looking squarely in the mirror at ourselves.

“Yesterdata” is a way to embrace our past, make peace with some regrets, and reflect on the many great joys.

Take the time to write it all down. Reflect on who you are and how you got there. Are there still lessons left to learn? How will you learn them? How will you help others, including future generations?

If you don’t like to write, find a voice recorder that fits your style and start talking. Don’t hold back. Be raw and honest. It is your life, your imprint.

Yes, this is a way to embrace the past, but it also conveys the present and can be a path to our future.

That’s a lesson worth preserving.

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