During the summer, I found myself feeling a little nostalgic as we drove back to a part of town we last lived in 18 years ago…much has changed like the addition Casey’s on the corner while much has remained the same like the metal overhangs over the windows. It was familiar but different. Reminiscing of memories made at the end of our block, some captured in photographs and home movies take me back to when our boys were little and just learning about life.
But we can never truly go back to the way things were…instead we can just move along with the pace life gives us. Sometimes, we may creep along as if at a snail’s pace while other times seem to be full of rocket-like speed with chaos swirling in every direction. When we visit times gone by we can be sad that are unable to live with them any more or we can appreciate the memories left behind.
Looking back at old photographs and retelling the same stories doesn’t just take us back. It also reminds us of how far we have come. Some of the steps we have taken might have taken years, while others seem to have just been a small skip. But here we are. In a different place…but still familiar.
So why is the past so important to where we are now?
It’s easy to get lost in the past…in the things that will never be. In the chances never taken. In the words never shared. The past can be full of regret if we allow it.
But in visiting the moments that were and the ones that never were to be, we accept that we still can atone for what we forgot. We can look at a newly built school and see an old farmstead…we can feel the memory of a loved one long past in a simple word…we can count the years on a son’s birthday cake where few candles once burned.
The past only gets us to our present and it is up to us to go the rest of the way. Sometimes, our momentum is stalled for whatever reason…we get hung up and we forget where we need to be.
As much comfort that we find in the things that once were, we also know we aren’t back there anymore. We aren’t the same people we once were. We might not want the same things we once did. We may need a change of direction.
Taking a look back, always pushes us forward. We accept that there are things still left to do and places yet to be. We have goals not yet met and achievements not yet accomplished. As many steps as we took to bring us to this very moment, we understand that there are just as many still left to take.
“If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.” – Martin Luther King
From time to time, it is necessary to revisit the past in order for us to still be curious about what happens next. Using the lesson we have learned and applying them to new situations, being open to the adventure only found in the unknown is what excites us and what gets us moving forward.
Look over your shoulder and take a look at how far you have come…what you have accomplished and let that invigorate you to ways you never saw coming. Feeling more alive than ever because you know what it took to get you to this very moment and how you still have more steps to take. Be enthusiastic about what happens next…embrace the journey with open arms and fall in love with everything that is still yet to be.
Every time we become aware of where we are, we do one of two things: we either change directions or we pick up speed.
Do what you need to do to get you where you need to go and love the ride you take along the way. It just might surprise you in more way than one.
Michelle A. Homme 2015©