Think about the day you had today. Were you productive Did you enjoy your day? Did you work for improving your future? Did you enjoy living in the moment?
If you answered yes to any or all of the above, your past had a big role to play in your day. You may not have realized how or pin-pointed the connection, but it did.
Life is balance. We live life in one-third increments. We have a past, a present and a future.
Ideally, we must balance the three. If we constantly work and live for our future, we never have time to appreciate the present. If we only live in the present, we are never prepared for the future. And yes, if we live only in the past, we will never make progress through life. Even a combination of enjoying the moment while working for tomorrow can throw you off your tracks or out of emotional whack.
So often I hear people say or read quotes that tell me, “Don’t look back, your not going that way…” or something along the lines of, “Keep moving forward, if you live in the past, you will be constantly running in circles.” I see and hear so much more negativity when referencing the past than I do the other two-thirds of our lives.
I read it and hear it so much, that it has begun to crawl under my skin. Why does our past have to be associated as a negative? Sure, I understand that we all have had to endure painful memories in our past, but those pains helped mold is in to stronger people. Without those painful reminders, we can sometimes lose the vision to push on through hard times. If we have done it before and remember our triumphs, we can overcome more obstacles in the present or the future.
There are good moments from our past too. Moments and memories that bring a sudden smile to our face when revisited in our hearts and minds.
I am a firm believer in honoring and respecting our past. This includes the good times and the bad. The mistakes and the successes. A quote that suits my understanding of respecting the past a little better is, “If we forget where we came from, we will never make it where we are going.” Our past is a part of us no matter how much we try to or want to forget it.
Out of the three, our past (the good and/or the bad) gets the worst rap of them all. Many people find that our past has little benefit to who we are and who we will become. I find this to be a grave error in judgement for those who believe that notion.
My past has spanned the spectrum of unforgettable memories and life experiences to shameful acts and painful memories. Yet I choose to remember and honor them all. I do not wish to close the door on any of it.
My past made me the person I am today. My past gives me moments of reflective bliss and harmony. I do not wish to block those memories and experiences, instead I wish to incorporate them in my daily life. I want to feel the balance of living in the present, preparing for the future and remembering and reflecting on my past.
I like to stop every now and then and turn around and recall a glorious moment in time I shared with a person or doing something that once made me happy. For what is in the past in typically not in my present, nor is it planned for my future.
Yet it is still a part of me. It helped me grow. It makes me feel complete.
The painful memories of my past still serve a purpose too. They remind me of my strength to overcome obstacles and to never give up. Living in the present and preparing for the future can propose challenges at times and this is when I turn to those not so proud moments to help keep me going. They remind me of the journey I have traveled and all I have endured.
Every day something will happen that will remind me of a moment, an activity or even a person who once brought me great joy or pain from my past. I choose not to forget either the harmony or the suffering. That is why I never close the door on anything from my past. If it once brought me happiness, it can again. If it did not, perhaps it is fates way of giving it another chance to turn agony in to joy.
To feel complete, the past, present and future must balance. If we neglect the past, the one with the bad rap, the one that many preach to ignore and move forward, we stumble. We are the sum of all the time we spend on this earth. All of our deeds during this time add up to define who we are.
Let us not brush off our pasts so easily. Let us not forget the good and the bad so quickly. There are always no new lessons to learn even by revisiting old stomping grounds and reconnecting with people from our past.
I have never met a person who has not spoken fondly of some day from their past. The past is not some arbitrary experience we must go through to reach better times. For some, our best moments lay in the past. However, even for those people, each day provides us with an opportunity to create a beautiful life experience that can be surpass events from the past or even plant the seed for a wonderful moment in time to come.
I personally will never turn my back on happiness. Whenever or wherever the happiness occurred, the door will always remain open. I will not choose to keep my head positioned forward as I live my life in the present, enjoying the moments while preparing for the future.
Some people will refuse to re-examine or open the doors to their past and that is their choice. While I do respect their choice, I choose balance. I choose to respect and honor all of the parts and times in which I lived. All of the people, places, experiences and simply things in general that made me happy.
It is no secret and have preached time in and time again that my goal in life is to be happy. I find happiness in all three time stages in my life.
A beautiful flower comes from a seed. We often gaze at the flower in its present beauty and we neglect to remember that it was once a seed. That seed needed nurturing to survive. That flower now needs a proper environment to maintain its beauty.
But let us not forget for if it wasn’t for the seed, we would not have the beauty to gaze upon. The past will always be a part of us. We will never be able to escape it. It is a part of life’s process, “What’s past is prologue.” ~ William Shakespeare.
Author: Adam Wilkinson
About Adam Wilkinson: Adam Wilkinson is a high school Social Studies teacher and football coach. He is a firm believer in karma and that everything happens for a reason. He believes the universe has a way of correcting itself or intervening to put us on the correct path. As a very spiritual person, he feeds off the energy of the sun and salt water, believing it heals all wounds—physical and/or emotional. He’s always open to new experiences and re-experiencing the old as there are new lessons to learn everywhere. His mission is to learn or experience one new thing a day, and two new things on the weekends. An introvert at heart, but he is constantly on the move and loves to connect with people. An alumni of elephant journal’s apprenticeship program which inspired him to co-found Unchainedvoice.com. Find him on Facebook or follow him on Instagram and twitter. Find him somewhere and he will happily talk relationships, tattoos, the sun, the moon and the stars and everything in-between with you as he has done with many people already!