“Don’t rest on your laurels…”
Resisting the Pull of Nostalgia During Change
The original film of the Star Wars trilogy had been out nearly two decades. And yet, despite its massive success, George Lucas wasn’t content. In an effort to “finish the film the way it was meant to be”, he re-released A New Hope in January, 1997, followed by The Empire Strikes Back, and later, Return of the Jedi, each with new special effects, different camera angles, new dialog and scenes. Star Wars, 20 years old, was new again.
Later that spring, as I was finishing my second year at Oberlin College, my Russian professor, Andrei Boichuk, had a few final words for me. We had spent the year together living in Allencroft, the Russian language house at Oberlin. There, students were encouraged to speak Russian, or at least, partake in Russian culture as much as possible. Andrei was a visiting professor that year at the college, with housing provided in a small apartment within Allencroft. His job there was to instill a sense of Russian authenticity.
Having just recently returned from my own first adventures in Russia, Andrei was a connection to a land I pined for terribly. And to a woman who had captured my imagination with her kindness, patience, and gentleness. It was with Andrei that I shared some of my heartfelt longing, or as much as my shy 19 year-old self would allow.
Perhaps, I too was a placeholder for his native land, Moscow. Soft-spoken and thoughtful, Andrei chose his words carefully. This gave added weight to their meaning. So on that spring day, after a year together, we prepared to go our separate ways. One of his final thoughts to me was, “Ne pochevat’ na lavrahk”. “Don’t rest on your laurels,” he said, after congratulating me on a good year of study. His words have stayed with me all these years, even if I, at times, have struggled to follow them.
It is these words that I recall on the eve of a new chapter in the life of MM. When making transitions, it is not uncommon to look back upon a more familiar time, with nostalgia. We often seek comfort amidst uncertainty. You too, dear reader, may notice these same tendencies within you!
The struggle remains to continue forward toward unfamiliar waters, often amidst the discomfort that brings. It is for this reason that I am making this transition with as much care as possible. Today you will receive two editions of MM. This, the first, is what you have been used to seeing. You will also receive your first issue of the “new edition”, MM 2.0. This will feature not only this very article at the top, but also other articles from the field of positive psychology from other leaders in the field. Please check to ensure that you received the new edition. It may have gone into your spam/promotions folder. Starting next week, this new edition will be the only edition you will receive.
If, after checking for the new edition, you haven’t received it, please let me know. I will do everything I can to ensure you continue to receive MM in its new and expanded form! Together, we will strive to “not rest on our laurels”. Taking inspiration from both Andrei and George, we will attempt to improve upon the good, to make MM an even more beneficial resource. I welcome you on this journey!