"He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future." - George Orwell.
We're products of our past experiences, and there's no denying that; A little girl burns her fingers upon lighting a match stick only once, before she learns of its danger. Everything we've done and said in the past, it shapes who we are right now and the very actions we lead.
This becomes more and more apparent the longer you spend with old people. They've had masses of experiences during their long lives, and now coming to their end of days, with their bodies failing them, it's their turn to share that experience with you. It's why Grandmas tell you to wear that jacket if it's cold, or Granddad warns you about the world. They hope their past becomes your present, and hopefully - if you make it to having grand children of your own - somebody else's future.
The sad thing is, people become trapped in the past. They lose sight of the present day, and become completely oblivious to any future they might have. Some would say that these people have given up living and are merely reflecting upon past glories, but I wouldn't go that far, because it wouldn't be fair - on the one person in my life I can safely say it applies to: My Nan.
It's a shame, yes, but what are you going to do? There's no point fighting it in most cases, these people have given up on everyday life. Their time is spent telling stories, waiting for the day that they can tell them no more. It's sad that they get like that; but I suppose it makes them happy, and comforts them. At a guess, they're the sort of person that'll die old and happy, with a smile upon their face, remembering life at its best. Me? I'll be that grumpy old man; always out of touch with life, who'll die yelling at neighbours, or something. At least there's a real beauty in holding onto those happy memories, as long as you can, and living by them.
Nan might never talk to me about her future ever again (beyond what she'll buy for next week's shopping). Is it sad? Most definitely. Does it actually matter? Probably not.
We're made up of memories. Sometimes we embrace them. Other times we store them away, and only get them out of mental storage when we require them. Our memories and experience shape how people see us, and by telling others about it all, we're passing it all on, hoping we're remembered ourselves after death.
In a way, it is looking to your future; crossing your fingers and hoping for the best.