Back in late 2002, I started collecting random quotes in a quote journal. Not too long ago, I found this journal and decided that the quotes I wrote down must have been important…and this one, “Don’t Look Back…It’s Not Where You’re Going” must have been important enough to write three times…
And I have no idea who actually said “Don’t Look Back…It’s Not Where You’re Going,” but boy oh boy…it makes so much sense!
Going through my divorce I kept looking back…I wanted my old life back…and the facade of the happy family with 2.4 kids, a dog, and the white picket fence (ok, it wasn’t white and it wasn’t a picket, but the fence did keep my dog from wandering off!) I totally bought into the fantasy of what a family was supposed to look like…and it really didn’t matter that the husband in this fantasy was less than ideal. In fact, he was a liar, a cheater, and a master manipulator. For a moment in time, I was willing to compromise the rest of what self I had left, to go back.
But going back was not where I was going. I could learn from my past but I couldn’t live there. No matter how comfortable it was, it was a life of sheer miserableness. And I realized that I couldn’t live that life anymore.
So I started living in my future. I traded living in the fear of the past for living in the worry of the future. Would I be able to make enough money to make ends meet? Would I be able to finish raising and support two teenage daughters? Would I find a man to love me…truly, madly, deeply? I reached a point of analysis paralysis that even though I unstuck myself from my past, I restuck myself in a future so limited by my narrow thinking, that I was eating anxiety for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
And then out of nowhere…I got the news that I had breast cancer. Wow. Talk about a rude awakening to living in the NOW.
I had no choice. I stopping looking back. And I could no longer look past today. I had no idea how many tomorrows I would have. And I was scared that I wouldn’t see my daughter’s graduate from college, get married, have babies or find true love myself. Since writing my poem, “Can’t Die Mom,” I have done the following:
–I’ve married the love of my life…and he loves me truly, madly, deeply…
–I’ve watched my oldest daughter graduate from college and I’ve watched her reach new heights and become the person she wants to be.
–I’ve watched my youngest daughter graduate from high school and blossom into this amazing young woman who goes after what she wants.
–I am helping my beautiful step-daughter plan her wedding this August… I have gone wedding dress shopping and her dress is hanging in my closet.
–This same beautiful step-daughter is expecting my first grandchild…and it’s a girl. My grandbabies are starting to arrive…and I know I will have many more over the next 5-10 years.
–I have not island hopped through Greece yet, but in 2007 my husband and I went to Italy and spent 10 glorious days in Venice and Tuscany. Only Serendipity could have planned a better trip!
–The Grand Canyon and Alaska are still on the list…and as far as hiking through the Scottish Highlands…that may come sooner rather than later…
–And when it comes to making a difference…I believe I am. I am a sought after yoga teacher and through my writing, I know I am making a difference and helping my sister step moms!
Living in the NOW has made all the difference. Now is where life happens – both the ordinary and the extraordinary. Only when you live in the NOW can you live to your fullest potential.
Where are you living your life? Are you stuck in the past or worried about the future? Are you so stuck in what happened yesterday, last month, last year, that you wake up mad and angry every morning? Are you too busy “preventing your future so there’s never a now?” (Richard Bode, “First You Have to Row a Little Boat“) Is either way a way to live?
Jump in the Now with me…the water’s just fine =)
The Bonus Mom