I can’t remember exactly when I stopped living in the past. But I do know that its effect on my life was profound.
I used to sit around and reminisce all the time. Get sad and depressed. Even wish I could go back.
I used to be crushed when things ended. Or when I moved out of a house/apartment full of great memories. I had an incredibly hard time giving things away because I couldn’t let go.
“How awesome was that when?”
“I really miss those times.”
“Man, I’d give anything to go back to college.”
“I wish Ed was still alive. The holidays, Sundays during football season, etc. would be so much better.”
“There was nothing better than watching Jordan play when we were growing up. The guys today don’t compare.”
“Those late 90’s Yankees teams were the best. It just doesn’t feel the same anymore.”
“Why can’t hip hop be like it was in ’92?”
“Why can’t WWF be like it was in ’97?”
Nowadays, thoughts like that never enter my mind. Except for the hip hop one, of course.
Thing is, none of that stuff matters.
Thoughts like that only enslave you. They hold you back from enjoying the moment. Enjoying what you are doing and whom you are doing it with at this very second. That’s all that matters.
All we have is right now.
And although I believe we should cherish our great memories, Tony Soprano did once say that the lowest form of conversation is “remember when.”
When Derek Jeter is asked to reflect on his legendary career he always answers that he hasn’t done that yet. There’s still another game to play. Maybe when he retires, he’ll get that chance, he says.
The past is gone. Good or bad, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t define you and it has no effect on your future. Unless you let it.
Maybe things were better back then. Maybe they sucked. Either way it could make you sad to think about it.
But what’s sadder is wasting a minute of this precious life. What’s sadder is that your closest friend could be gone tomorrow and you didn’t enjoy your conversation with him over lunch today.
What’s sadder is not living up to your full potential and never doing the things you wanted to do because you were living in the past.
A dozen of my closest friends recently flew out to Southern California to spend a four-day weekend helping me celebrate my upcoming 40th birthday. When I woke up Monday morning and everyone was gone I admit that I was sad.
In the past that sadness would have led to a downward spiral of sorts. But this time I was over it by lunch. Instead of feeling sadness I felt inspired. I recognized that one of the most important things in my life is spending time with those people. So I have to work harder and smarter to make that happen more often.
I was in Arnold’s office not too long ago and as I walked out I noticed a poster for one of his more recent films that tanked at the box office and was out of theaters in no time.
I asked Daniel, his right hand man and buddy of mine, about Arnold’s reaction to it. He told me that he had none. It had zero effect on him. He simply presses on and surges forward each and every day.
Maybe you failed; maybe you succeeded. Maybe you were criticized; maybe you were praised. Maybe things were better; maybe they were worse.
But none of it matters. It’s in the past.
Keep moving, my friends.
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