Living in the Past (Part 2)

I have really appreciated the counsel and advice that I have gotten from family and friends since my post on living in the past earlier this month. That counsel has helped me draw some new conclusions that have already helped me a great deal.

First of all, I admit that I am a pretty sentimental guy. I have trouble letting go of things that remind me of my happy, fun past.

For example, when our girls were in nursery and would come home with their pictures and art projects, I always tried to write the date on the back and to keep their cute little projects in files and boxes. I still have tons of these. And I still have all the Ensign magazines I have received since January 1976. I have a real hard time throwing those sacred words away. I can’t bring myself to do it. And I still have horse equipment that I have had since 1971, and I still use it.

See what I mean by sentimental? Over the top, I know.

I have a tendency to hang on to memories and mementos to the point that I don’t move forward like I should. It’s like I stay stuck in those happy memories, as if the present can’t be just as happy. But I’ve realized this week and woken up to the fact that it was a lack of faith that was tripping me up, a lack of faith that today and tomorrow can be just as happy and special as yesterday was. 

What I am trying to change going forward is this: Instead of letting positive memories be an anchor to the past, they need to be a staircase to the future. I can still cherish my past, but I can’t stay stuck on that staircase.

I also realized that letting go of the past feels too much like grief. But I need to take a different tack. Things don’t grow unless you let them go. For example, your children can’t grow unless you let them go. Does it have to be grief to let them go? Why can’t it be joy, the joy of watching them rise above your own life? So I am trading in my grief for joy. It’s the only way to go.

Finally, I am accepting and I am having faith that today and the future can be—no, must be—better and happier and more joyous than anything in the past. For example, the early days of our marriage were so happy and full of hope that I look back on those days fondly, but I now believe that the present days of my marriage can be full of more hope and joy and fun than I ever experienced in the past. 

So thank you again to my family and friends for shaking me loose from my funk. Today is a great day!

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