“The first recipe for happiness is: avoid too lengthy meditations on the past.” ~Andre MauroisI
This post started out in a funny way. All day I had been thinking about writing something pertaining to my constant focus on the past rather then on the present or future. As usual, I had trouble starting my post. I really didn’t know what I wanted to say, or maybe, I knew what I wanted to say, but really had no idea how to say it in a clever way.
So what did I do? I looked back at past things I wrote trying to find some witty analogy to start with…and it hit me. I do this constantly when trying to figure out how to solve a problem. I look to the past hoping that it’s already been solved. That way I don’t actually have to do any work at all.
I seem to have an obsession with the past. I am always looking back thinking the grass was greener or I was happier then than I am now. It is really happiness or is it simply nostalgia? What is it about an event being in the past that makes it seem sweeter or kinder to us than it was before? For some reason I feel that the present and future can never measure up when, in reality, I’m not really giving them a chance.
What it really boils down to, in the simplest terms, is that I am a giant scaredy cat. I fear making decisions specifically because I don’t want to be wrong. I look back at the past and think, “I was happier then so I should do this” or even “I made the wrong decision that time, lets take the other road now.”
I finally got a haircut yesterday after weeks and weeks of saying that I was going to. Why did it take me so long? Because I was so scared that once it was done I was going to regret the decision. Not only was I scared about the amount of regret I would have, but what would other peopler think? Some people told me not to get my hair cut. Should I listen to them or do what i want? I know this is a pretty insignificant example, but if I freak out this much about a hair cut, think about what happens when I have to make real life decisions.
Do I look back to the past and pick decisions based on how receptive they were by my friends and family (and even strangers) and try to repeat the ones that were the most agreeable to others in my life? Is that why the past is so important to me, because it holds the acceptance of others?
The bigger question is how honest am I being with myself? Do I make decisions based on what I want, or based on what other people might think about the decisions I am making. I’m constantly joking with one of my friends that I am 32 years old and really don’t have time for drama in my life anymore. Even as I say those words I realize I am a big, fat hypocrite. Even when I’m being honest here, I’m not being completely honest. I have secrets like everyone else. Things I can’t put in print or even talk about for fear of being judged.
Am I doomed to constantly look towards the past or will I ever be able to just accept my present and future, judgement and all?
Here’s me in the moment. Judge away.