I’ve been second guessing myself lately. I’ve been reconsidering decisions I made several years ago, knowing there is no way to go back and change them. Even if I could, it probably wouldn’t be wise. Worrying over the past is counter-productive no matter what the situation because it simply cannot be changed.
We often make the best decisions we can with the information we have at the time. We have no way of knowing what will happen in the future so we plan for the here and now. Hindsight is often 20/20 because we forget that we didn’t have knowledge of what would happen a few months or years down the line. I have absolutely no knowledge of what my life will be like even a year from now but I’m planning for the parts that I believe to be true and doing the best with the information I have. It’s easy to be critical of your past self when you’ve already seen what will play out. It’s also easy to forget that this knowledge of the here and now is new. This knowledge wasn’t in your possession as you were planning for the future. You were simply oblivious to what would be.
In my youth I was never one to believe that people actually change as they grow older. I never understood why people left relationships because their partner changed – I always thought it was an excuse to wave the get out of jail free card. Perhaps they were just tired and didn’t want to make it work. The younger version of me hadn’t experienced enough of life to see how time and events can mold us – for better or worse.
Time has taught me that change is good. Life’s events bring knowledge, patience, and the ability to make more clear-headed decisions. Time heralds change. We can fight change and find ourselves becoming bitter, even angry. We can accept change and allow time to mold us into better versions of ourselves. Change won’t bring all the answers – nor will time. We have to learn to sort out all of life’s little nuances into things that will matter and things that won’t.
I believe that who we are at birth is intrinsically related to who we have become at death. There are small personality traits that we’ll likely carry throughout our lives. Those little quirks and traits are what make up our basic essence – without them we’d all be shells. There are other traits that we pick up over time or traits that are changed by all that life throws at us. There are things that we can learn to do and be – patient, caring, forgiving. There are traits we may lose – innocence, optimism, even hope. While we’ll never control what comes our way, we can always do our best to control how it changes us. If we want to grow and be better – we can. If we’re scared and we can’t find a way to carry forward with hope we have the right to feel stuck and react negatively.
As I sit and wish I could go back and make changes so my life would be easier I forget that taking the road I did has brought me to where I am. If I had changed one little detail I might have an entirely different life. It could be better, it could be worse. Yet it wouldn’t be my life. I like my life and I think my energy would best be spent changing the here and now instead of worrying about the past or events that I can’t change.
This is my beautiful life… This is my story and while I don’t get to write the future, I get to edit all the details that make it worth reading.