Time, experience, life lessons, all things that seem to serve us best once we’ve travelled through them. With my mind running 24/7 and with the nature of the work I do I am quite frequently chopping in and out of the past, present and future. Examining what I have learnt, where I am heading and my general state of well being and how I can steadily improve it. Although we are constantly told the past is the past and there is no point looking back. Which I agree with completely because our focus should be absolutely straight ahead, living in the here and now and working on the future but some of our greatest achievements are in the past, some of our most colossal mistakes are back there too and both of these played a huge part in moulding us into who we are today and where we are today. So I see no harm in leaning back into a pool of experience and drawing from those lessons.
For me, it can be grounding and I believe it very healthy in practice. Not to over analyse but I see nothing wrong in a few reflections.
Naturally for me I have to draw a lot from my own ‘source material’ as it is after all what this is about. My evolution, but it is what we are all doing or hopefully what we are all doing. Evolution isn’t ginormous, bold changes and advancements. It’s small changes, daily patterns and rhythms built through consistency. That is our evolution, that is our prerogative. To be better people for ourselves and the by product of that is a better, happier positive energy projected outing this world that we all share. So the biggest thing for me is learning from my mistakes and hopefully never repeating them. This is something that I think I have got buttoned up now but I’m sure life will have no issue in pulling the rug out from under me to give me a little reminder. On the other hand though if I do balls it all up I won’t punish myself into eternity like I used to and I certainly won’t tolerate someone else thinking they have the right to do so either. This household now runs on a ‘I want to say this, have you said everything you wanted to say, ok lets move on’ policy. There is no time, no place for resentment or grudges around here. Say it, move on. Done. Life resumes.
Would I have done anything different? Not a question I really ask myself but probably a valid one all things considered. I get asked it a lot by people and I do have an answer for it; no. Of course I am only human and I have regrets, as much as we all preach to live life with no regrets but my regrets..aren’t really the ones you’d think they’d be. I regret not going to have a few more random beers with my dad, those little ad-hoc moments that I know would have meant so much to him too. This only really came home when going for a beer with my Movie Squad co-host and his old man. I’ve never really been an after work go get a pint merchant but I did sit there a little sombre on the inside thinking about those missed occasions. It’s those little things that lean towards regret. Passing up on an offer at university, shying away from something I really wanted to do. My biggest historical pattern of regret is not saying what I wanted to say, not speaking up and just rolling with it and letting the disappointment fester inside. Not the big cock ups, I kinda like those as I now know they moulded me the most. just maybe a sprinkling of wishing I should have acted on my gut instead of cowering away for the easy life. Which isn’t east by the way, it’s a bloody horrible nightmare.
I truly can not stress enough, which is a strange terminology if you think about it. Don’t stress full stop! But don’t let things haunt you, don’t let past decisions or those decisions that were made out of your hands affect you in the here and now. Certainly not after you’ve been through it, taken and learned the lesson. Drop that into the experience folder and move on. Naturally the scale of what you do go through bears direct relevence to how long it may take you to work through it and it may be something that requires indefinite monitoring and refinement but that’s ok, you’re doing it. Even with me and my very common experience it is still something that needs work. None of us are bulletproof and we all have stumbles and weak times. I’m certainly not excluded from that and now I tend to question peoples motives a lot more than I used to. I’ll look for their angle until I remind myself that their motives have no influence on me or what I am doing anyway. They can only do that if I allow that to happen.
So what would reaching 42 be like if I hadn’t made mistakes? What would it be like if I hadn’t been through everything I have? All those highs and lows. Well I’d still have all my guitars I know that much! But its an interesting and quite open question. My life could be absolutely identical or it could be quite literally any other version. If the old man had got his way we’d have moved to Portugal when I was a kid and things would have been mightily different, and at least I’d have that second language I have always craved. I must do that. Then I step back and think I wouldn’t have the daughter I have now. yes, I may have had a different wife, different children and a beach fronted mansion but I wouldn’t have her. That simple fact is worth going through my life a thousand times over. That is probably my greatest and most powerful yardstick of perspective I have. It doesn’t matter what I have been through and what I will go through during the rest of my life. She is why I couldn’t change a thing because she is quite simply irreplaceable. You can fall in and out of love, people come and go from your life, mistakes, opportunities. Bundle any measure up and it isn’t even fragment of her value.
As an individuals s a man I know my mind is incredibly active. I don’t really have an off switch. I’m actually writing this on a day I had set aside as a down day for me to just kick back and relax. Bearing in mind I’ve already done my food prep for the week and will be recording another episode of the geek podcast this afternoon, oh yeah and those photo shoot shots I need to edit… Down days don’t exist and I like it like that. As they say, you’re a long time dead and with that as a stark reminder that we are, so make the most of every second and don’t waste your time delving too much into your own last and history. you don’t need a pat on the back for past glories and you don’t need to administer additional punishment for those mistakes that are long over.
If you need a reference point then have a look back. I see how something made me feel, what caused it and most importantly how I dealt with it and if I could have improved that response. As I said at the start, it’s evolution. Not landing on the moon (didn’t happen). Draw from strengths and weaknesses. I have learned that it is having and recognising those flaws that it grounds us in a way to better deal with the tombola of life.
Be imperfect. I am, very much so but I am aware that although I will forever remain imperfect that it doesn’t mean I can’t improve myself, it doesn’t mean I am all bent up, twisted or broken. I’m just human, a human that wants to evolve into the best I can be and for me in order to do that I dip back into my past lessons and experiences. I allow myself to be open and I allow myself to draw from them.
It is all you, and me. Look in the mirror and you will see your past, present and future looking back at you in your reflection.