Irene Parlby, "Life—A Great Opportunity,"
Canadian Home Journal May 1931: 7, 30. Courtesy of City
of Edmonton Archives.
This is a difficult theme for me. Temperamentally I
dislike looking backward. I much prefer to "Let the dead
past bury its dead." Even as a child I could not forgive
Lot's wife for giving up the adventurous road ahead for the
sake of satisfying that inquisitive desire to look
backwards. There are still many like her, living in the
past, bemoaning the good old times, and probably not even as
useful to their day and generation in consequences, as the
pillar of salt which Lot's wife became.
Looking backward it seems to me that I was always in a
hurry to get on with the future. From as far back as I can
remember, Life appeared as an exciting and intensely
interesting book, in which one must always be eager to turn
the page, and peep into the next chapter. The one
aggravating feature, that one must perforce pass on, before
the story was nearly finished.
There was always consolation in the thought however, that
perhaps one's spirit might be allowed to hover around, and
watch how this old world continued to work out all the many
interesting problems upon which she is engaged at the
There is no doubt that it is a most excellent and
salutary exercise for all of us, to take time now and again
to review the past; to criticize, analyze, to search out
those things which influenced character, which brought
happiness, which made life infinitely worth while.
By doing so we might perhaps the better help those
younger than ourselves. But then again, we might not be able
to do that, because I think if there is one thing which
looking back on life teaches us, it is that we can only
learn the wisdom of Life, can only develop our philosophy of
Life through our own struggles, through our own experiences.
Yes, looking back on Life I refuse most emphatically to
take the view of so many of the older people of to-day that
past times were better than the present. Life grows wider,
more interesting every day, presents greater opportunities
for brains, for character, for initiative, for adventure in
ways both spiritual and material.
Altogether looking back on life I have found it good.
Disappointments of course; discouragements of course; plenty
of things in the world one would wish to have the power to
change; but the fundamentals of happiness are all there for
each of us to seize should we so desire.
"Truth, Beauty, Goodness, the eternal Verities" as L. P.
Jack defined them; Life at least gives us the opportunity to
seek them, and true happiness comes only in their pursuit.