I find myself occasionally using the phrase “in a prior life” in conjunction with explaining something in my past, such as my long career in the IT products and services business prior to getting into real estate (my current life). While it is just a little affectation (a throw away phrase, if you will), it does sum up nicely the fact that our past may be thought of almost like prior lives. Not of course in any Shirley McClain reincarnation way. Read more on that and her autobiography here.
The real point is that all of that is in the past and we are and should focus upon living in the present and perhaps planning for the future. The past is a place that you might occasionally visit, especially if there are many pleasant memories that bring comfort when remembered; however, you can’t and shouldn’t live in the past. If you find yourself constantly revisiting the coulda, wouldda, shoulda’s of your life and beating yourself up over choices that you made back then, it’s time to shut those doors and move on.
We all have past lives, some with many more chapters than others. Some of those chapters were exciting and fun and some were perhaps frightening to remember. Hopefully all of those chapters contributed something to the person that you are today and to the knowledge base upon which you now make decisions in your life.
There are memories of things that you’d love to do again, feelings that you enjoyed having and would like to have again; and there are the things that are filed away under the heading – NEVER again. Both sets of memories contributed to who you are now, but they do not define who you are now. They were stops along the journey to today. You did not get off at those stops, so don’t go back and spend time sitting in those stations.
One key to putting the past in its proper place in your life is planning – planning for today and for the future. The more that you focus upon what is just ahead and maybe just over the next hill, the less time that you have to wander back into the past. Your subconscious mind will sort out the things that you need to remember (good and bad) in order to make decisions about today and tomorrow without you spending time thinking about the past.
Once you start planning for upcoming events, your subconscious mind will move into anticipating them and you’ll find that your conscious mind will tend to focus on that – what you can do to make this upcoming event the best that it can be. Planning and anticipation will lead to actions and pretty soon you’ll find yourself lost not in the past but in the future and that’s a much better place to be than trapped in the past.
So, if you must let your mind wander, point it to the future and not back into some dungeon from the past. Live in the present and plan for a better future – at least you can still do something about that. Have a great day today and plan for a great day tomorrow.