Putting Your Behind in the Past

cup of hot cocoa

Yes. I know that’s not the expression, it’s put the past behind you. I posit there is no fun in that. Today, we are going to talk about moving on and moving forward. Putting your past behind you. That doesn’t mean acting like nothing that has happened didn’t happen; rather, it means to take steps forward. Putting childish things away as it were. This is something that I always struggled with, but in this time of families and togetherness, it is time for me to take some steps forward.

PUTTING CHILDISH THINGS AWAY

Toys, awards, yearbooks, these things have intense value. Sentimental value goes without saying, but the value to future generations is difficult to say. Holding onto these things might feel like the exact opposite of what the goal here is, but it isn’t. Today, we are planning by putting the past into a self-storage unit. We are keeping the things that matter most to who we are safe. Today we are creating heirlooms.

KNOWING WHAT YOU DON’T NEED

Every closet of every home is filled with things that we need, but for every item that has true use, there is an item that doesn’t. The trick is to recognize what each is, and that can be quite the challenge. There are many guides to help start the process. Not one of them can tell you what truly has value to you. I suggest going through each item and evaluating it. If it has real use, either now or for your kids, keep it. If not, then it might be time to consider taking it out of the house. Maybe store it with the rest of the childish things.

ACCEPTING WHAT YOU DID WRONG

Every year, almost without fail, my older brother tells the story of how I “tricked him” into driving while we were on a road trip with my mom and grandma. Not entirely sure how I did that, I’m not that persuasive. He was grounded for the rest of the trip. No games, no books, he was allowed silence or NPR. So, every year, I must apologize for what I did. The moral of this story, if there is a moral, is that you don’t always know what you did, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t make it right. More importantly though, some of the things you own are just a mistake, and that means you ought to get rid of them. No need to have the daily reminder that your wishful thinking jeans just aren’t going to fit. Especially after Thanksgiving. Nothing fits after thanksgiving.

MAKING AMENDS

An extension of above, but with some very important distinctions. Knowing that you wronged someone doesn’t mean that all is forgiven, and that the past is behind you. Instead, take the time to make things right if you can. If something is beyond repair, if a relationship is irreparably destroyed: upside is that now all you can do is move on, downside is that now you must move on alone. That’s never any fun, and often begins a difficult new portion of your life. In a more practical way, some things can mended easily. Take for instance those jeans that don’t fit, accepting that they won’t is one thing, but giving them to someone in need is an entirely different ball game. When something loses its use to you, make sure to help it find someone it can help.

There was something I remember my dad telling me. We are little more than webs, with every action we take, with every person we meet, we weave that web. Each person is a thread, and the actions are caught in the web, impacting more than just us, but those around us. Some actions are too big and cause the web to break; it is our job to repair that, but no matter what happens, the it is not the same. When people leave your life, you are fundamentally changed, and sometimes a visible hole is left that they used to occupy. Moving on means repairing the web, picking up the pieces, and trying to put yourself back together.

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