A little voice inside my head said:
Don’t look back, you can never look back.

 

Isn’t that the curse of aging?

All you do is look back at your life, wondering what you’ve accomplished, what you didn’t do, what’s forever out of reach.

At 52, I’ve had my share of mornings where all I’ve wanted to do is dwell on the past.

I wanted those days where times were simpler.

I wanted those days where I thought I had it all figured out.

Where I spent lazy days by the pool, watching my daughter jump in and out of the water.

Those carefree days where we would sip our wine and watch the kids play. Just us, our friends, and a lazy summer evening.

When you’re younger, you have time. Even if life is frustrating and it’s not living up to your expectations, somehow you justify it all because you have time. There’s always the “someday” and “someday” doesn’t seem out of reach.

Then it changed.

The years rolled by. Jobs changed. Expectations changed. Friends changed. Family changed. Life changed.

And here I am today.

It’s easy to be melancholy. To wallow in all that has been. To long for what was once familiar. What was good.

It’s easy to get lost in it. Especially when you think you’ve “lost” something.

You’ve felt it too?

So the questions start to flow.

How did it all go so fast?
Where did time go?
Why didn’t I ever do “that”? (fill in the blank)

It’s tough, right?

It can all make you feel like you’re losing ground …

I subscribe to the concept of gaining instead. And I have to admit then when you turn things around and look at it from the positive, you see more positivity in everything.

It’s up to each of us to be all we can be. We can’t control anything outside of ourselves. That doesn’t change whether you’re 1, 10, or 100.

We have to experience things based on who we are today.

We have to live it with all the knowledge that’s made us who we are.

We take every word we’ve learned, every experience we’ve had, all the feelings that make us who we are, and apply it to right here and now. We use all of that to decide on what to do tomorrow.

How do you do that?

Don’t get lost in the past. I accept my past as my jumping off point. And I leap forwards instead.

Because who would I be today if I didn’t have my past? I am here today because of what I’ve achieved each and every day. Every experience has guided me to be right here, right now.

I’m living a rich, well deserved life. Every day I am the best ME I can be. And it isn’t always easy. I’ve walked away from A LOT to be where I am.

But that’s ME today.

My experiences have shaped me. My choices have defined me. My knowledge gives me the wisdom to continue making great choices.

None of this would have happened if I hadn’t taken risks and decided I’d leap no matter what the costs. I felt fear. I had setbacks. I faced depression. We all do at some point.

But I also feel differently about who I am today because of the strength I’ve carried through from the past.

Could I go back and tell myself what to expect without a whole lot of shock appearing on my face? After all, my 20 year old self was a timid creature. She had dreams, but she was scared.

Could I appease her by telling her what to expect?

Of course not. That’s where living comes into play. I had to learn with each new day. Build on my past and create the threads that would weave my future.

DOING changed that.

Because every day, every experience, has made me smarter and wiser. And more beautiful from the inside out. I was once critical about my looks. Never going out without fixing my hair just so or swiping on the makeup. Now I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If I feel great, it comes out in my actions. And that attracts like-minded people who feel the same way.

Love the ones you connect with.

Screw the rest.

How do I get where I’m supposed to go?

Leap …

Do what feels right. Do what comes naturally. Say yes to whatever fulfills you today.

Take a chance. Face your fears. Grow. Change. Embrace all that is me.

Yes, it’s scary. I’m living right here in the now too. And all of my flaws are right here on the edge, trying to hold me back.

I approached a few twenty-somethings a while back, walking down a crowded street. I could see the timidness in her face. But she held it well. She was the leader of her pack.

I gave her a kind word, to which she made a snide comment. I smiled and wished her a good day.

I’ve been there – we all have. Some of us outgrow it. I hope she does too.

Because self-worth comes from within. It comes from learning who you are. From standing up for what’s inside.

And only you can decide what that will be.