“I have very strong feelings about how you lead your life. You always look ahead, and never look back.” ~ Ann Richards …
There is a good reason that our eyes are placed on the front of our heads–it is more important to look forward than it is to look back. I have always tended to have an innate proclivity to looking ahead instead of behind. For much of my childhood, I had grand visions of what I wanted to become. As a result, I spent a lot of my time working towards becoming that person, and this kept my focus towards the future. This only seemed to grow all the more prominent as I grew older and took on more responsibilities in my life–college, sports, relationships, jobs, and so much more. And those times when I did allow my focus to shift to the past, were usually moments when I had the intention of learning and growing, or if I did something that worked and I wanted to remember it so that I could repeat that success or build upon it. Of course, a few of them were times when I did something that did not work, or was foolish and irresponsible, and I wanted to make sure that I did not repeat it.
In truth, no one lives his or her lives backwards; to try to do so is an exercise in futility. And since we cannot change our past, dwelling on these things only leaves us with misery and regrets. In addition, when we let our focus wander to days and times in which we have no control over, we lose much of our ability to act upon the present moment, and to work towards accomplishing what today and tomorrow requires of us. This can very well lead us to become stuck in ruts–often making it impossible for us to live up to our potential and to find fulfillment in life. For what we accomplish here on Earth depends primarily upon how much time, effort, energy, and focus we are able to contribute. And if these things are spent on the past–a period of our lives in which we have no further control–then they are squandered.
Whatever our hands find to do, we must do it will all our might–living our lives purposefully, worthily, wisely, sensibly, accurately, and authentically. Give thanks for the life you have been given… every moment of every day. Know deep in your heart that everything that happens to you, every step forward you take, you are moving closer towards becoming something more than you were before. And even if you stumble and fall, convince yourself to look ahead to a life worth living–a life full of hope, faith, love, and joy.
The occasional revisit to our past is something that can be healthy and beneficial, for there is value in those memories. And it is great to look at old photos and watch old family videos and reminisce. It is duly helpful to reflect on lessons of the past when we are trying to determine a present course of action. But when we do more than that, when we spend too much time focused on things that cannot be changed or affected, then we are losing our ability to affect our present situations in positive, loving, creative, and productive ways. If we can just look ahead with patience, purposefulness, gratitude, and a heart of unselfishness, there are far greater moments of beauty ahead of us.
Let your day be lived in the here and now–moment to moment.
Questions to consider:
What kinds of situations can keep us caught up in the past?
Just how much can we give to today if our minds are on yesterday?
How might we be able to let go of things in the past and move our focus to things in the present?
For further thought:
“Each new moment presents an opportunity for conscious choice. We can choose to let go of the past. We can choose to be here now. We can choose to accept responsibility for ourselves. . . .
We can choose to awaken. Or we can choose to remain asleep and unconscious.” ~ Leonard Jacobson