“I never look back darling. It distracts from the now.” – Edna Mode, The Incredibles
I never actually watched The Incredibles (I know some of you are gasping in shock right now), but reading this quote made me a little jealous. My past has dictated so many of my fears and decisions. It’s so easy to look back. They say that everything is better in hindsight, but I think a more accurate statement is that everything is distorted in hindsight. You’ll either look back and think those were the good old days or my past sucks. Both of these views can paint a grimmer picture of your present.
Looking back isn’t the only problem we face, there’s also looking forward. Sometimes we can get so caught up in imagining the future that we forget about today. I’ve done it. I get so focused on my goals and desires that I just trudge through life waiting for those things to happen. The problem with this is it never stops. There’s always something more. You get the job you’ve been waiting for, but then there’s your first promotion. You completely bypass the joy of having the job and go straight to obsessing over the next step.
I’ve had to learn the tricky art of balancing three things: letting go of my past, appreciating my present, and planning for my future. It’s a matter of realizing that the past is the past and that is does not define me or my future. I plan with excitement for my future, but I also make sure to appreciate what I have right now. Taking time to think about the things I’m grateful for is really helpful for being content. Also, simply finding joy in the little things like the watching the sunset, feeling the warmth of the sun on your skin, or curling up in a fuzzy blanket can help you stay present. I don’t want to be cliché, but stop and smell the roses. There is so much life going on right now. Why waste today regretting your past or fearing the future?