When I think of moving on, I picture a particular incident or a situation, and I picture myself packing up a backpack and walking away from it. Sometimes I feel like I’m running down the road, the situation is literally behind me, so far behind me that I can’t see it through the dust I’ve kicked up. And then there are the other times, where it seems to take me forever to even find my pack. I eventually start stuffing the bag, but man I am moving at a snail’s pace. Sometimes I want to strap on my Nikes and hightail it, and sometimes, I’m too scared to even lace them up. And, that – right there – is why I believe so many people (sometimes I included) hang onto their pasts. Fear of the future.
The future is uncertain. We all know this - there are no guarantees. I could die before I finish writing this post. For some people, this is exhilarating, the unknown, the excitement and anticipation of what is to come. For others, like me (IE: control freaks) unknowns are terrifying. I would much rather make a giant list and plan out the next 10 years of my life, than live as I am currently forced to – leaving it up to the stars. Uncertainty makes me anxious; it makes me physically ill at times. However, through many (many, many, many) therapy sessions, I’ve learned just because I cannot control things external to myself, does not mean I lack all control. Once I discovered this – I felt somewhat liberated. No, I can’t control my future, I can’t make someone promise to not break my heart, I can’t be guaranteed I’ll keep this secure job. But I can control how I react to these events should they occur. I can control how I handle the situation, and that can be quite powerful.
Now… back to moving on. We’ve established that the future is one big question mark – in contrast, the past is a big exclamation point. We look at the past and hold onto it because it’s secure. We know the outcome; we know if we continue to follow the paths we’ve been on for years, we will go the same places. Some people are content to keep on these same paths. They like these routes, they are pretty and rewarding enough in themselves that straying to something different isn’t necessary. For others, this becomes monotonous. The paths get boring, the person you’re hiking with turns out to be a bad travel partner and so, you have to make a decision. You can keep walking and hope after enough miles you’ll feel that contentment, or you can take a different route.
The catch is, and one that I feel so many “hikers” fail to think of is that it’s physically impossible to travel two trails at once, and even if you could, there is no way to have the utmost rewarding experience one trail has to offer, if you keep looking back at the other. In order to fully embrace what the future has to offer, you have to let go of your past.
The last man I was extremely serious about melted me. When he left I barely recognized myself in the mirror, but I couldn’t let him go. Sure, I physically didn’t have him anymore, but I wouldn’t let myself move completely forward. He had moved on, and I needed to so badly, but it took me FOREVER. I looked for every excuse not to, but eventually I packed up my bag, I tied my shoes, I started down my new path. I stopped every few steps to look over my shoulder, hoping that I was making the right choice, but while looking over my shoulder I was missing the beautiful scenery around me. I was so focused on what was behind me; I was missing what was right in front of me. It was only when something caught my attention and drew my eyes forward that I really moved on. I started walking faster and looking back less frequently. Soon enough, I was able to look behind me and see just the silhouettes. And I liked that, the silhouette reminders of my past. Some were pretty, some made me laugh; others reminded me why I left, but none beckoned me to return.
I’m not saying that the trail I’m on now is the one I’ll be on forever, but so far it’s a great one. I am living each day in the present, appreciating the people and experiences I have in my life right now, not the ones I wish were or have been, and I believe it’s because of this I can look back every once in a while, if not for perspective but for prosperity.
So I dare you to let go. I dare you to confront an issue that you’re too scared to tackle and hit it head on. Leave the remnants in your dust and look forward to this gorgeous path you’re on. After all, nothing ruins a future like holding onto the past.
|My future's so bright, I gotta wear shades|