From a recent post on the Jack’s Winning Words blog – “Some days I wish I could go back in life, not to change anything, but to feel a few things twice.” (Unknown). Jack went on to say – “Thank God today for a mind that allows us to feel some things…twice.” 😉 Jack
In an earlier post, Jack had quoted Charlie Brown from a Peanuts cartoon that he remembered – “There are moments in life when you miss someone so much that you just want to pick them from your dreams and hug them for real.”
Often when someone is gone you hear people say (and I have said this to others myself) that, “They will live forever in your memories of them”.
Quite often I’ll stumble upon a picture that I’ve used in a post here of someone who is now gone. Often those may have been people that I had no relationship with, but just remember seeing on television sometime in my past. Many are people who were long forgotten TV or movie stars whose brief term of fame and glory happened well before most people living today were even born. Every day I’m reminded by pictures in my house of the key people who were in my life and who have passed away – parents and relatives. It is easy to pause and let a fond memory flood into my mind and that’s a good thing, but not something that I dwell on for too long. I take to heart a quote by Ken Kesey – “Loved. You can’t use it in the past tense. Death does not stop that love at all.” That is certainly true of those we have loved and continue to love who were a part of our lives.
Some have more trouble that others letting go of the past and that can negatively impact their lives in the present. Jan Glidewell put it this way – “You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present.” Many people who lose their life partner end up in that state, still clinging so tightly to their memories of a life together with that loved-one that they now cannot live a full life in the present. Others cherish the memories of their departed partner and go on to fulfilling lives, sometimes with new partners.
I like the very descriptive way that Jason Versey describes the state that one can get into when they cannot let go of the past – “Chasing your tale? Sometimes we relive past accomplishments, failures and or past relationships to the point of exhaustion. When we do this, I liken it to a dog chasing its tail, just spinning round and round and going nowhere fast. Constantly chasing our own tales has the same effect on us. It leaves us in a state of dizzying immobility. When we wrap our arms so firmly around our past we leave little room to embrace our present future and that, my friends, is a sad tale to tell.”
So, we must let go of the past and get on with life. We may fondly (or maybe regretfully) revisit the past from time to time, but we cannot let it push aside the present or dictate the future. In the words of Michelle Cruz-Rosado – “Letting yesterday affect today will only destroy the excitement of tomorrow.”
Sad or angry or regretful memories of events of our past can be especially debilitating, if you let them consume you. It is better to head the advice of Mandy Hale – “To get over the past, you first have to accept that the past is over. No matter how many times you revisit it, analyze it, regret it, or sweat it…it’s over. It can hurt you no more.” It’s not the past that hurts you, it’s the constant reliving of things that you cannot change and the tendency that we have as humans to beat ourselves up over those events or the decisions that we made at the time. It’s over! Learn from those mistakes and then let them go.
So, maybe the best way to deal with the past is to separate your memories into those that are fond and involve people or events that you love or that cause you to be happy when recalled; and, keep those that cause sadness or conjure up memories that are painful in a separate place, one that you seldom, if ever, have reason to visit. You often hear the phrase “I’m going to my happy place”; well, maybe that is the place where you store all of those happy memories of people that you still love and who loved you and those events that brought you joy.
You can’t change the past, but you can control how and what you choose to remember about it. Choose to go to your happy place when you are revisiting your past. Have a great weekend and, if you must revisit the past, at least go to that happy place that is full of happy memories.