A while ago, maybe a year, maybe more, a friend of mine typed these words in a text message:
Don’t look back. You can never look back.
He was giving me advice in the form of song lyrics. Whether he remembers telling me this, I doubt. But I’m pretty sure he’d say the same thing if I explained my thoughts today. My tendency to reflect instead of forecast.
All the “if onlys”.
I suppose people are generally reflective around their birthday. And mine’s tomorrow. I don’t say that to elicit well wishes or hoopla, since truth be told, I don’t like that sort of thing. Oh, you can wish me a happy day, but please don’t make a big deal over me or I will recoil and probably act in a manner which will not please you, jovial wanter of celebration. I have a few people I expect accolades from, and because the card from my mother and father arrived yesterday (thanks MOM!), there are now even fewer well wishes to regard as going to happen. I am not a hate my birthday type. I enjoy celebrations with the people I’m closest to. When it comes to celebrating personal days and triumphs, etc. I’m just a bit more private than some.
Anyway, back to looking back. As noted from this photo taken many moons ago, I have a tendency to think about days gone by. Mull over regrets. Bad decisions. All the whys. Instead of spending that time looking ahead. Making a plan. Or a better idea yet, just living today. I’ve found lately many days are gifts. Simple, perhaps. Outings with kids I work with or alone time that ends up being valuable. A phone call with my daughter. A dinner with my son and his girlfriend. Time with people I care about. Even if it’s brief. Or unexpected. Especially, actually. Gifts of today, which sounds like the most ultimate cheesy saying ever. But it’s true. We tell ourselves to make a plan. Other people tell ME to make a plan. And in doing so, sometimes I miss out on today. This very minute.
I had a conversation recently regarding people who video concerts and events and other happenings. Instead of simply enjoying the moment. I had the privilege of visiting the Museum of Modern Art in July. On a Friday evening, which is their free day. Meaning I went without paying!!! And I was able to see Starry Night. In case you didn’t know, I’m a van Gogh fan, thank you. Well, here’s the thing. People want to photograph it. And truthfully I took a photo as well, but I also desired to stand there and look at it. Take it in. Think about this guy named Vincent who a long, long time ago took a paint brush and put paint on that very canvas I’m staring at. I want to imagine what he was thinking when he did it. Instead of merely taking a photo with my phone which I most likely will not ever take the time to truly look at.
So maybe what I’m trying to tell myself is not only “don’t look back” but also “don’t just look ahead”. Enjoy today. Even if it’s not the greatest day ever.
I overanalyze and it’s a not so great habit. I think, and while I realize everyone thinks, I tend to overthink. Which impedes joy. It’s hard to be happy when one’s mind is filled with clutter. And speaking of birthdays, at this point in my life I have accumulated way too much mind clutter. Looking back doesn’t help alleviate it, either.
So there’s a goal for the next year. August 7, 2017 – August 6, 2018. Focus on today. Will I do it? Who knows…I’m not much of a goal person. But it’s worth a shot. Meantime, I am fairly certain I can work on the “never look back” mantra. Here’s hoping anyway.
If you didn’t figure it out, I’m disappointed but I won’t hold it against you. The referred to song is The Boys of Summer. Appropriate for August, right?