Looking Back to Move Forward

Posted: 01/04/2015 in Life lessons
Tags: , ,

Looking back is sometimes necessary. It can be painful, too, but there is seldom growth without pain.

Yesterday, on the third day of the new year, my wife and I stopped at a local Chick-Fil-A to grab a bite before a movie. We began reflecting and discussing the prospects of the new year. The ironic thing is that we spent much of our time looking back. We looked back not only one year but several. We reviewed the good and the bad. We discussed how one thing often led to another and the lessons learned through chains of events. We reflected on things we could have done differently to gain different outcomes. It was personal because the outcomes we experienced directly affected us.  Even the bad things taught valuable lessons. The remarkable thing we observed is that the more we placed things…the good, the bad, and the ugly…in perspective the more it fueled hope and direction for the future, as well as the challenge for change.  And that’s the word, isn’t it? Perspective. The ability to see relevant data from the past and apply it to choices for the future. Sometimes it’s a good thing to stop where you are and examine where you’ve been to get bearings for where you’re going next.

“Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday.”

~John Wayne 

Life, in many ways, is like driving a car. Everything about the vehicle you drive is designed to go forward and travel safely to a destination. However, every motor vehicle I have ever driven has the ability to go backwards when necessary. And, sometimes it is necessary to make forward progress more safe or less cumbersome. Reverse can sometimes get you out of a tight spot. Some useful tools in the drivers seat are the windshield and the mirrors. An obvious observation is that the windshield, by comparison, is much larger than the combined size of the mirrors. This gives the driver a proportionate perspective of what’s behind in order to navigate into what’s ahead. Even a simple lane change to avoid obstacles ahead requires a glance back to perform safely. Otherwise, you’re just driving blindly.

Our largest view…the big picture…is most rear-view-mirror-skydefinitely what lies before us. That’s where hopes and dreams are leading us to our destination.  However, to get there effectively, it will be necessary to take a periodic and sometimes painful look back to see from where and from what we have come. Much like driving, looking back may require a rear view or side view angle to make a better choice moving forward. It helps to look back from different angles.  And, since hind sight is 20/20, we are in a better position to use our past to direct our future…IF we keep it all in perspective. You never know when something from your past may be approaching from the rear. Something that may hinder or stall your forward motion. If you look back and see it coming, you can more effectively deal with it and put it back in its proper place. You can then gain a little more clarity to focus on what’s ahead.

“In this bright future you can’t forget your past.”

~ Bob Marley

My wife and I have learned to live life without regrets. Being happy and happy together is a choice we have consciously made…irrespective of present circumstances or past choices. And,the purpose here is not to compare our past miseries with any of yours. The harsh reality of life is that it happens to everyone. It is no respecter of person. My pain is not worse than yours because it is different. Your pain and mine can offer a great deal of perspective if we allow it to.  Depending on how much time you spend looking back, your past can lead to your demise or it can lead to your development.  Either way, the perspective you take and the choices you make will be what defines you. I have come to believe that everything I have ever been contributes to everything I will ever be…good and bad. The difference has always been my perspective.

Yesterday, my wife and I spent a couple of hours in the dining room of a restaurant discussing the objects in our rear and side view mirrors. In fact, we missed our movie.  And, looking back…

…that’s okay!

“The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”

~ Abraham Lincoln

…Peace and blessings…

~ joe

  1. Thank you Joe. I think a lot, but I never thought about moving forward like this. You gave me something to think about.

    Liked by 1 person

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