None of us do this is our quick answer. There is no time to look back. Yet like gravity, connecting our past to the present is always working behind the scenes to make sense of our lives and what is before us.
Christmas carols make the phenomenon of connecting the past to the present visible. Of our childhood excitement of cookies, presents, and the surprises that Santa Claus gave us when young. Even today, while much older, all the feelings evoked back then are still rich in warmth and meaning.
But this does not begin and end with this holiday. We constantly try to calibrate our present lives by connecting today to our past. Without realizing it, looking for similarities. Why this is what experience brings to our lives. Opportunities to connect our past to the present so that problems can be solved more quickly with effectiveness. We have already seen what to do. And it worked.
Practice makes perfect. Habits and routines serve us well as they were born in the past. Having already experienced the past, makes life a bit easier. Less uncertainty brings us comfort. While never having the discipline of an athlete, practice does make things easier the second or third time they appear.
While helpful, connecting the past to the present has its dangers albeit without a warning label to alert us. It deadens our curiosity when presented with new things. We easily dismiss new things as being unimportant since they did not appear in the past. And yes, we survived the past without them.
Our energy for exploration is diminished when we do not pay enough attention to the present. Looking for differences from the past is quite different then looking for similarities. It is within the nuance of differences that new paths appear, possibly leading to new and better tomorrows.
But these differences require new learning. More effort. Less certainty. All things we run from, much like daily exercise. Our age certainly affects our tolerance for this type of journey. The older we are, the less stamina and patience we have.
Yet there is no greater fountain of youth, next to regular exercise and proper diet, than trying to overcome the inertia that connecting the past to the present exerts on our lives. For it is the promise of newness, in the dawn of the next day, which gives us the best chance to be forever young.