And we do – often. Every time we allow our past experiences to creep into our present lives, we are arrested from living freely. This is not to say that past experiences haven’t a place in our lives. Some are useful. We learn many skills that help us to keep our hands away from a hot iron, or to remember how to behave in society. However, our brains can adhere to certain undesirable experiences which in return causes us to relive those moments whether or not we are conscious of them.
Jay Gatsby, in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, tried to recreate a fantasy with a different, desired outcome. What he aimed for was really just dust. The past doesn’t exist. Even with the wealth he created, Daisy would have none of it or him. When one grasps at the past, one grasps onto nothing. Kant says, “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.” For Fitzgerald to write about grasping at nothing, he must have had first hand experience. Gatsby’s tragic ending reminds us of a wasted life and how ridiculous it would be to live that way. Do we judge harshly?
What I’m getting at is basically this: Your past is past. It ought not have any bearing on your current life other than having learned from the mistakes you’ve made. Are we then just as ridiculous when a past mistake holds us back from becoming what we desire? Doing the things we like? Starting that new career? Sure, we may have failed in the past. Certainly the past teaches us lessons. Maybe we didn’t put in much effort the first time through. It’s ok. Try again. Aim to live in the NOW before it gets away from you.
For more inspiration on living your current life, read my post called “No. You Don’t Have Time”