Moving on from the Past

Do you ever think about something that happened in the past? Do you get lost in a moment in time that you can never get back? I know I have, and there are plenty of other people who have as well. Most of the time, these things are nothing more than memories we can look back on, a recollection of the past. Sometimes though, we can get stuck in the past and keep reliving it constantly. Whether they're good or bad memories, being stuck in the past can be a real burden.

I had a friend once who constantly talked about her life growing up. She never talked about anything in the present or her plans for the future, just a constant litany of tales from the past. At first, it was interesting to hear her stories, but after a few years of hearing the same stories over and over again, it got old and tiresome. It was obvious to me, then, that she was living in a period of time that was long over. While I never begrudged her - or anyone else - for her good memories, there comes a point when one needs to quit focusing on the past and concentrate on the present and the future.

Now, I can't talk about this issue without putting myself in the hot seat. I often think about the past too but from a different perspective. For me, I look at my past as a series of missed opportunities and bad decisions. Because of this, I lament the time I feel I've lost to the past and often wish I could go back in time and do things differently.

While my foray into the past looks different than my former friend's, it's just as unproductive. There is nothing to be gained from either of our reflections and honestly just holds us back. What I mean is that instead of smiling at a good memory or learning from past mistakes, we live squarely in a period of time that is over and one that cannot be changed. What's done is done and it's time to move on.

I've done a lot better about living and being in my present, but I still struggle at times - especially when times are tough - to not get caught up in what has already passed. It is during these times that I have to remind myself to not dwell in the past and to focus on the future. Oftentimes, that's usually the catalyst I need to bring myself back to the present. It's the future that I need to focus on anyway, more so than my past. The future is where I can make better decisions and take advantage of all my opportunities.

I need to also stay focused on the here and now as well. I mean, the present is happening as we speak, right? The present is the bridge between the past and the future, but it's also the future we've caught up with. When I think about it, I'm already well on my way to changing how I lived in the past and my future looks pretty bright from where I'm standing.

I will live today in the present. How about you?


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