Using the Past to Create a New Future

At AYE this week, I led a session about adapting to change in your life. One of the participants was considering reminiscing about the way his life used to be.

I was horrified. I didn’t say that. What I said was this, “That would be bittersweet for me. I have too many memories of what I was able to do and I don’t want to contrast those with what I can do now.” Not bad for someone who’s not known for her tact and diplomacy, eh?

We learn from looking backwards at our previous successes through other changes. And, living in the past, being stuck in the past, does not serve us well.

We’ve met those people who reminisce about the good old days. They are boring. Once you’ve heard their stories once, you don’t need to hear their stories again.

But learning from the past? Learning how to see your successes and apply those going forward? Priceless. Seeing what you might not have done so well and seeing what you can do differently going forward? Also priceless.

Living in the past does not create an adaptable life. Using the past to help create the future does create an adaptable life.

You had your old life. You have a new one now. Make your choice to live your new life, not to try to hold onto the old one. It’s a challenge. It’s not always easy. But, if you take that first small step, and ask for a little help, maybe you can take the next one.

Life is your future, not your past memories. Memories are wonderful, but they are not your current reality.

2 thoughts on “Using the Past to Create a New Future”

  1. alistair cockburn

    Hi, Johanna! I used to believe as you describe here, but lately came to see that living in the past has certain plus sides. Some people live primarily in the past, some in the future. I’m a future person, I can’t live in the past. However, as I was recently shown, this deprives me of spending comfy time – think of a big soft chair – relaxing in the good moments of the past. When my future was cut off (during the divorce), I couldn’t find a spot to rest in the past, the present or the future. When people have a bad present and bleak future but a rich past, going and finding a good spot in the past provides them with a resting spot for their mind/soul.

    I still agree about the hazards of spending too much time there, but I am happier now to see what a good aspect of having past accessible is; an aspire to learning that someday.

    cheers – Alistair

  2. Welcome to the new world. Life is an unending pattern of choices we have at the time and dreams which are yet to be fulfilled. I wish you well!

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