Thursday, January 24, 2013

Live Forward, Understand Backward


In times of transition, people often wonder, “When will we get back to normal?”

The answer to that question is “Never.”

Normal is not something you can go back to. Regardless of how comforting the thought may be, you can’t get back to normal. The old normal doesn’t exist.

You can only go forward to a new normal.

Life is a river. It flows continuously forward, not backward. It changes as it flows. You cannot step into the same river twice. It’s different every time.

Our moments and relationships are like that too. We all are changing, growing, moving forward in time. We can’t go back to the way it was.

Of course, we can understand our present situation by reflecting on the past. As Winston Churchill said, “The farther backward you look, the further forward you are likely to see.” Pondering the past brings clarity and understanding for the future.  We live forwards and understand backwards.

A stroll down memory lane recalls experiences both good and bad. We realize that in the end, everything seems to work out somehow. Everything we’ve experienced has brought us to where we are today. The things we’ve gone through have shaped, instructed and molded us.

The good times have brought us joy. The bad times, though painful, have shaped our character.

It does us good to remember the past.

When it’s all said and done, however, we must clear the cobwebs of yesterday, and live. Embrace today! Pining for “what was” doesn’t bring it back. We cannot live in the past. It is impossible to go back to reclaim it.

The better course is to appreciate and draw meaning from the past, then, with courage, live fully in the present. If we do that, the best memories of life are still to be made!

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