In just a few days I have the privilege of celebrating one of those milestone birthdays that ends in a zero—one that a lot of people mourn about endlessly.
How will I spend the next couple days leading up to this momentous occasion?
I could allow myself to sink into a depression while eating my weight in ice cream and chocolate. I like ice cream, and I LOVE chocolate.
Or stay in bed with the covers tucked snuggly under my chin, seeking blessed escape in slumber land. Sleeping in is one of my favorite things.
I might ponder all the things I wish I’d done differently, list the do overs that will never happen, and then plummet into despair. Who doesn’t have regrets? I do wish I’d been more in tune to my kids’ hearts and minds as they grew up. Wish I’d been less concerned about stuff that didn’t really matter like dirty dishes, missed bedtimes, plans gone awry. Maybe a tad more flexible.
But instead of boo hoo-ing, sleeping or regretting, I’m going to celebrate and look toward the days ahead. I plan to grab each and every opportunity to connect with my family and give less of myself to those things that don’t deserve so much attention. And loosen up a little too.
No matter your age, each of us faces the choice to look ahead or look behind—to focus on the past or look toward the future. Not one of us can honestly say we wouldn’t change something—maybe a lot of things—if we could live parts of our life over.
We’re human. Sometimes we make hasty, truly awful decisions. Let ourselves be led astray. Momentarily forget everything our parents, teachers, coaches, grandparents and every other person who cares about us taught us.
But rather than focus on all the things we can’t change, I vote we learn from the past. And the first lesson to learn is this: the past doesn’t have to define us. It’s possible to chart a new course, set out in a different direction.
It might be tough—really, really tough in fact. Take it one day at a time, and if you trip, get back up and forge ahead. That’s what I’m going to do.
What’s your best tip for not letting the past drag you down? What are you striving for in the coming days?