The past can be motivating. Having the ability to recall how you felt at certain moments in your past is important for improving your life and the lives of those around you. A brief coffee meeting with a former colleague this morning created one of those moments that I hope to recall and use to motivate me. I had strong feelings of contentment, but also a strong desire to improve. I am content with what I have (health, family, friends, and relative financial security), but I am determined to improve a few things.
While I hope to recall these feelings for motivation, I hope to leave the past where it is and never worry about, or dwell on, what has happened and cannot be changed.
My son said to me last night, “Dad, I can’t change the past, but I can change how I act in the future.” Wise man. He was apologizing for doing something careless (running behind parked cars at night as they were leaving their parking spots, and completely scaring the crap out of me). He understood the danger after the fact, and I believe him when he says he won’t do it again.
All past acts are (or should be) like that. I am not going to worry about what career path I could have taken or what I could have done differently in past jobs. I will not regret choices I made in the past, or moments lost. I will not dwell on what cannot be changed. Instead, I will think about things like:
“How can I best experience this moment, and how can I improve the next moment by doing something now?”
“Can I live healthier now, and in the future?”
“Can I provide, not only financially, but emotionally for my family today and tomorrow?”
“Am I giving to the moment what I am getting?”
The past few months have allowed me to decompress (my friend’s words) – that was important. I have learned during this time that things I once thought so important are not so. I think the hurricane has passed and it’s time to set a new course and sail on out of this harbor I’ve been moored in the past few months. Here’s to the waters ahead.