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When I was a teenager, I lived for a while in a city called Pécs, in southern Hungary. I walked to school every day through the ivy-covered courtyard of a convent and a basilica, passing under the nose of a statue of Janus Pannonius, a famous Hungarian poet from the Renaissance.

The Renaissance was a time of great creation. Poets, artists, sculptors, musicians, architects - so many of the greats emerged in the 1400s. It was a period that followed the Dark and Middle Ages, known for wars and upheaval, and illness. Many historians praise the Renaissance as a rebirth in the world.

But others tell a different story. The Renaissance was a time of nostalgia for many. Instead of looking forward, many artists and authors lamented the loss of how things used to be. They sang songs and wrote poems and painted portraits of medieval times.

Those artists aren’t nearly as well known. There aren’t statues of the nostalgic ones. But the forward thinkers... like Michelangelo and da Vinci... they are known far and wide for their new ideas and new techniques.

In some ways, we are in a Renaissance now. We are offered an opportunity to look forward and create for what can be, not what was. Will we be the ones who cling to nostalgia... or will we embrace what can be? It’s our choice.

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