I’ve begun to notice a shift in my thinking. For a long time, I spent a lot of time in reflection of my past. I resisted holding regret, but felt sadness at the blindness with which I felt I lived. I’d look back and think, “If only I’d known…” I’d have empathy for the person I once was and see the holes of my past that I’d then filled. Yet, I was continuing to miss the holes that still remained. I saw my previous hardships but was ignorant to those I continued to create in my present. I perpetuated the cycle.
Lately, however, I’ve spent much of my time in curiosity of what’s happening now. Frequently, I think to myself, “Is what I’m doing right now going to be something I, forty years from now, feel proud of or resent?” I am looking forward, rather than backward. I’m seeing how much more I can grow, rather than how hard it’s been to get here.
It goes across the board. Sure, with my food and my body, I remember that it isn’t the number of bites I take or the size of my jeans that I’m going to be able to hold and share in my future. But there’s so much else, and it’s cultural- we live in an image-based society. My Instagram photos, along with the number of likes each post gets, will evaporate into cyber space at some point, just as my 10-year-old AIM profile did. The clothes I wear will go out of style, as will my haircut or make-up. It won’t matter how beautiful my friends are, or whether or not I was seen at every party.
Instead, it’s the size of my life and the energy I put into pursuing my passions that will allow me to share my work, my insight, and my experiences in my future. It’s the amount of happiness behind the photo that was captured. It’s how I felt, how I made others feel, and the authenticity of the moments. Following good creates good.
I try to remember what I’ll truly appreciate and I’ve found myself one step closer to finding appreciation in the moment. I’ve informed my present with the little that is known of my future and used this as a guide to genuine happiness now. No path is perfect but it’s inspired me to write. I’ve written so many letters to the person of my past. In the name of a change in mindset, a letter to my 60 year-old self…
I hope that you are well. I’m working hard to offer you that. It’s been a bumpy road, but I think I’ve begun to find a smoother path. I’m looking for and holding on to the things that make me fulfilled. Some days, I’m still unsatisfied. Some days, I feel like I’m missing something. I think, though, that if I never felt unsatisfied, I’d lose reason to strive further. I’m trying to use the spaces to motivate, rather than disintegrate. It’s helped.
I can’t remember the last time I’ve worked this hard to make my life the best it can be. I know I’ve been working hard, but it’s taken me a while to learn how to successfully do this. Maybe it’s because I’m on a steadier foundation upon which to build, maybe because it’s a part of growing up, maybe this is a human thing. I think it is. I think most of my problems are- human, not singular.
For this, I hope you’re just as most humans. I hope you’re still looking forward, but in new ways. I hope you’re safe and helping yourself keep safety. I hope you’ve followed what you’ve loved, even when that’s changed, and I hope you’ve dropped what you ceased to love, not without pain. I hope you’re curious, but I hope you let the questions for which you cannot find answers go. I hope you’re happy. I hope I’ve helped.
You have worked hard to read this, and I hope you’re proud. I hope you remember sometimes, but only after you’ve experienced something new. I hope you experience right now stronger than you look back or look forward. I hope that both remind you of how precious this is. I hope you have peace with your mind, and that it serves you well. I hope you serve us both well. I hope you’ve lived.
I am living now and I look forward to the moments that will lead me to you.