Living in the past: that’s almost as bad as ‘dwelling on the past’. Both are, figuratively speaking, possible and each are just as likely to bring as much pain as gain! Perhaps, like me, you occasionally indulge in both and know how depressingly destructive that can be; life’s like that: yesterday, today and tomorrow – but the one to pay heed to is today and to use that as the springboard to plan for tomorrow!
Today is the important, possibly the most important day of my life. What I am as a person today is the product of all my yesterdays and all the people who helped to shape and fill them, at work and at play. Remembering past times is still possible for me but for folk affected by Alzheimer’s the past is most often lost or distorted. If, like me, you can remember your ‘yesterdays’ that’s a blessing to be valued and cherished. The flip side is that some memories will be sad or hurtful; the trick is to not let those aspects become dominant and destroy our wellbeing or, worse, disturb those around us.
One of the ways I cope with my present lifestyle is to avoid living in the past with its hurts, worries and wrongs so that it alone doesn’t define me. Of course I can still indulge or even revel in some recollections and they often help me to be positive and to live in the moment. My trick is to ‘turn the page’.
Long ago when I worked in corporate dispute settlement I learned to accept the inevitability of ‘differences’ in relationships and to seek for answers that provided a safe and secure journey ahead for all the parties. I learned that words spoken ‘in transit’ were not always meant to be ‘inked-in’ but used to fashion a solution for the future. Then, as now, we are shaped by past encounters but not entirely formed by any one of them in isolation.
So, most of us move on to each day; we look for a new opportunity to be of help to someone, to be happy for what we have, for what we have become and, hopefully, what we might become. It is good to be able to remember; but it’s not good when we live in the past. Let’s seize today, to live and hope and pray….and always plan….for tomorrow!
Postscript: I wrote most of the above notes before I left home to take a holiday break and will upload it from Fremantle in West Australia!