September 13. “You can’t have rosy thoughts about the future when your mind is full of blues about the past.” (Tidbits)
No one would ever try to drive their car with their eyes incessantly fixed on the rear view mirror. We all know that it would be extremely unsafe. While we’d have a great idea of what’s going on behind us, we’d be careening all over the road, oblivious to what is right in front of us, let alone what is farther ahead. And yet, how often do we spend our days ruminating about our past? How much time do we waste on blues about what’s happened, on regrets of days past?
To live life fully means that I have to be looking out the windshield. I need to see and appreciate what s right in front of me, with a cautious eye toward the road ahead. I need to be able to react quickly to changes so that I don’t get side tracked or run into an obstacle that could have been avoided. I also need to just appreciate what is there; the beauty, the wonder, the joy of the present.
I can do nothing to change what has happened in the past. When my eyes are on that rear view mirror, and my mind is worrying about what’s behind me, I rob myself of my present, and limit my future. Are there things behind me that I wish had gone differently? Most assuredly yes. I am no different from any other person in that regard. But I cannot allow myself to obsess about them. The healthiest choice is to learn from my past mistakes so that the next time I will do better.
I am not saying that I should never look back. There are time when a healthy check of the past is beneficial to the future. In driving, it’s good to know what might be coming up behind me, or what might be in a blind spot if I am trying to change directions. In life I need to be mindful of how past decisions might affect my future choices. This healthy glance to the rear is there to keep me on track, and to alert me of possible hazards, both in life and at the wheel.
If I spend my time in the blues of the past, I cannot see a hopeful future. The surest way to lose hope is to wallow in the notion that I am where I am, and there is nothing I can do about it.
Today my reflection is on living my life by looking out the windshield.