The other day I was booting up my old laptop. It seems that sometimes my new computer is so smart it doesnâ€™t let me do what I really want to do and I have to go back to the old one to play. I fired up the software I used to write my first business web page and brought up one of my very first projects â€“ when I was learning the software. Up comes a picture of me that was taken about 9 years ago. Wow. I was a lot younger then. The little bit of hair that I had was still all brown â€“ itâ€™s â€˜lighterâ€™ now. I guess it reminded me of all Iâ€™ve been through since that time. Things were much different back then. Iâ€™ve earned the changed looks and Iâ€™m quite comfortable with them. More than anything, it reminded me of the power of the past. Well, the past has only the amount of power that we give it and Iâ€™m pretty confident in saying that most of us give it so much more than we should. I suppose thatâ€™s why itâ€™s so hard to let go of sometimes â€“ we give it so much power.
I live in the present most of the time â€“ like I think we should. I really like the book by Spencer Johnson, â€œThe Presentâ€. I think it might be my favorite of his; I do like it better than, â€œWho Moved My Cheeseâ€, even though it wasnâ€™t as popular. The whole idea or theme of the book was â€˜donâ€™t live in the past, donâ€™t live in the future, live in the presentâ€™. Of course the argument some will have, and I donâ€™t thing Spencer would disagree at all is that the past is important and the future is important. They are important but they are not the place to live. The past is an invaluable tool for reminding us of whatâ€™s important, teaching us lessons, and giving us perspective for evaluating where we are. The future is the ultimate planning tool, a place where we set our target as we evaluate what we need to do to get there. If we live in the future, we donâ€™t live today â€“ and we miss out. We canâ€™t smell the roses if we spend all our time thinking about tomorrow. If we live in the past, we miss out on today and we miss out on tomorrow. Too many people think they are their past and by living there, they make it so.
I tend to love many things in my past. One on the reasons I love my vacations so much is that I remember them so vividly. When Iâ€™m living a moment on vacation, I really drink it in. I know that when Iâ€™m in the middle of a Minnesota winter, itâ€™s wonderful to slip away in my mind to a perfect summertime bike ride or a springtime canoe trip in Florida. I choose to remember the magic. Iâ€™m very purposeful in experiencing the things I love in my life â€“ in real time. When I need to close my eyes and appreciate my world, I have much to choose from. I use the past. I donâ€™t give it control. Music is a powerful elixir that can draw you to the past as well. As a musician, especially one that loves ballads, many songs act as time machines for me. But again, I strive to appreciate the magic of the past â€“ my past. I work not to see is as a representation of anything Iâ€™ve lost or am missing but as the time that Iâ€™ve lived and am grateful for.
In his book, â€œThe Story of Youâ€, my favorite author, Steve Chandler writes about how we are not our past – that is only a story. We can create a new story of who we are, at any time, simply by choosing what we want. I work to follow his advice. I appreciate my past, my old stories. And I use them along with my dreams and passion for the future to write a new story. And when I want to, I write another one, and another, and anotherâ€¦
Donâ€™t give up on you because your past has a hold on you. Itâ€™s really not holding on to you â€“ itâ€™s the other way around. Let go of it and move on. Find a new place to live.