With another year coming to a close, it’s totally normal to reflect on the past and look forward to the future. In fact, in many ways intentional reflection is a really healthy thing to do. Yet, it’s a practice that needs to be done with caution.
The past is done. We live with the consequences. We learn from our mistakes and victories. But at the end of the day, we can’t dwell too long on either.
For the negative, we will doubt ourselves in all future endeavors. For the positive, we might rest on our prior success and never venture boldly into what might have been.
Debilitating regret and apathy—putting too much focus on what was can easily get you either or both.
And what about the future?
It hasn’t happened and it’s not guaranteed. We need to set goals and know what targets we are aiming for. A ship with no destination likely ends up lost at sea.
But just like dwelling too long on the past, if all we focus on is out there, we will miss what’s right here.
Debilitating discontentment and worry—putting too much focus on what will be can easily get you either or both.
The reality is that all that we have is right now, this moment, this very breath you’re taking as you read this post. Nothing less, nothing more.
For all our striving, we cannot change the past and we can only influence our uncertain futures with how we choose to seize and utilize the present moment we’ve been so graciously gifted.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s a note on my phone titled 2020 Have/Do/Be, but I’ll tell you that my primary focus is on that last bit—be. It’s the one thing that will most affect all other aspects of my life.
Who am I becoming? What do I value? How am I practicing presence in every situation and with every person I have the chance to encounter?
Your past is done. Your future isn’t guaranteed. Your life is now. In the words of The Avett Brothers, “Decide what to be and go be it.” Be it well, and do it with great intention, joy, and contentment as we enter into a new year.