I travel through the year with the Jewish sacred calendar as my guide. There are various stopping points along the way where I am reminded to look inward, checking in with myself. But when it comes to my birthday (just over a week away :) I like to look outward, checking in with the world around me. I bring up memories of the past with a perspective of the present. Some of my observations are personal; some are cultural.
This looking back is very much an aspect of age. I think up until 30 or even 40 you look forward, not back. Even those who start to feel old at 25--hard for me to imagine, but I know those people exist--are fearing what's in front of them more than lamenting for what is past. I think that the 40s brings a combination of denial and reluctant acceptance of the aging process. The 50s seem to be bringing perspective of the past that only years removed can bring. I'd like to say that it's a clearer view, but maybe it's just that we change the filters on our lens.