Does anyone drive a car backwards? Can you really focus on where you are going by looking in the rear view mirror? I think the answer is no, but there are surely some people out there whose sole life experience is based on that rear view mirror. Seeing where they came from and regretting the things that they have not seen or that they drove past. Regret is a terrible emotion, but it is worse if you look for it and wallow in it and base your existence on it.
In discussing time with my class, some of the fun things that students say is that you cannot get back those wasted seconds. Once time passes, you cannot get it back. It is lost forever. Live in the moment cause you never get that moment again. Seems like decent logic, but it also seems a bit focused on that rear view mirror doesn’t it?
Not one of the students said, look forward to the next moment or the next minute or the next hour or the countless hours you have coming up. They focused on what is lost and not what you have yet to experience. Semantics, maybe, but still it is a bit of a downer view.
What direction does the helmsman of a ship look toward on the ship? The front! The charts are based on where you are going, not where you have been. Yes, we have to look back just to see where we have been and to correct the course if we have to, but we don’t focus on it! We focus on the future, what lies over the horizon.
Great explorers did not spend all of their time fretting over the lost time as they explored places that were not the goal of their journey. They stumbled upon amazing things and relished those added bonus adventures but went back to work trying to find that which they set out to find. They focused on the journey wherever it took them but always with a vision toward the horizon.
Can we be so focused on living in the moment that we forget to dream of the future? That we minimize the importance of those goals and the steps needed to achieve them? We can and sometimes we do. Time is a tricky thing. If we spend too much time focused on time then we are simply wasting our…well…time.
If we spend all of our life and effort looking out the rear view mirror with regret and living in nostalgia and longing for what was or what might have been, we lose the grandeur of the front window and what will be and what lies ahead. You are right, you cannot get back the past. Those decisions were made and can never be taken back. But the road ahead holds countless untraveled miles and memories waiting to be discovered. It holds infinite opportunities for adventure and passion and discovery.
The real joy of life can be seen from the window and not from the rear view mirror! I look forward to seeing you look forward! Cover up the mirrors of regret and take great joy in looking out your new window to the future. Enjoy the view!