It was as if someone wrote on a chalkboard in neon colored chalk,
“Life is a teacher, and you are the student You can either go to the next grade, or can repeat the grade you are in!”.
LEARN THE LESSON!
The past can be an excellent teacher, but only if you take the time to stop and listen to what it is telling you. Bad relationships, bad investments, a job you hate, and choices that don’t match the life you want to live. They are all symptoms of your emotions driving your choices at times without you even knowing that it is happening. The old saying it seemed like a good idea at the time seems to rush in. I mean, I can’t tell you how many times my past has kicked me in the butt.
This became especially clear to me last week. As I walked into the attic and looked through tubs filled with things from my past. I sat there going through them one by one. Oh, if only I knew then, what I know now…I used to hear older people say that when I was young and never really knew what it meant, but now it was all crystal clear.
You and I both have things that we could have done, and probably would have done differently. My eight year long bachelor degree program, because I kept starting and stopping because at the time working, independence and freedom seemed like a much better choice. Thinking about my fears, and the things that I accepted, those things that literally stopped me from taking full control over my life. The choices I made because I was afraid are nothing compared to the real cost of indecision and procrastination.
When you look back on your life and see the decisions you made in your twenties, and even in your thirties and forties, you can either laugh, or cry. The real lesson and real truths come from realizing that NOW you can make a better choice and NOW you can do better, and you should.
As I sat in that attic last Monday, something became crystal clear life is teaching. I have grown in some places, I even dare to say in a lot of places, but in others, I am still identifying the problem or trying to see where in the world it came from, so I can fix it, learn the lesson and move on. I would be willing to bet some of the challenges you are facing today, started a long time ago. Same lesson, different time, different teacher.
If you really take the time to reflect, you can even see why you made the decision you made. You realize how close minded you were, or how inexperienced you must have been to think that you didn’t have better options. It is easy to feel that way as you look back with twenty plus years of experience and life lived, but what kind of mistakes are you making now, perhaps for the same reason. FEAR!
I couldn’t help thinking what if, but none of that really matters now. They are pipe dreams at best, and at this point many are a total waste of time. I don’t want to go back and fix my past because that is how I learned it’s lessons and how I grew. I do want to use those lessons to create a more conscious future one filled with choices that make sense for me and my family, and choices that model my experience and my growth.
I don’t like all the decisions that I made in my past, I doubt many of us do. What I do love is the fact that I can say that I am learning and have learned from them. I can look at things with experience and say been there, done that, no need for a reunion tour and work on building a life I can continue to be proud of, with enough lessons to share with those who haven’t made my mistakes and don’t need to!
If you could have a do over, would you?
How do you take the “mistakes” of your past and apply them so you don’t take them into your future?