I was driving in my car this morning when a well-known Italian singer, Eros Ramazzotti, came on the radio. I was immediately transported to a different time and space just by listening to his voice. I was reminded of my life, six or seven years ago, when I went through an existential crisis that forced me to engage in a quest for wholeness. Because mostly everything about my life back then just felt wrong. Internally and externally. Personally, professionally, and even geographically. I felt trapped in a “place” I was not happy with and I was determined to get out of it.
And it was Eros Ramazzotti who kept me going. I would open my psychology books (my new-found passion), put Eros Ramazzotti on, and dream away. I would dream about all the plans I was making, the goals I was setting myself to accomplish, and this newly discovered passion that lit a spark inside of me I didn’t even know I had. Envisioning a brighter future drove me to keep moving forward. And gave me so much hope. Enough hope and faith to make the changes I needed in order to make my dreams happen (Wondering how? Read my post “Create the Life of Your Dreams“).
And just as believing in the future gave me so much faith and power, learning from my past has given me much insight and wisdom. Reminiscing about the journey that has brought me where I am today. Remembering the simple and innocent joys I experienced as a child. The lack of fear and defiance of all risks and expectations in my teenage years. The marvelous novelties and exciting adventures I craved. The ambition and thirst for knowledge thereafter. My need to thrive and succeed in my 20s. And then the best part. Losing myself completely to find myself all over again in my 30s. Or really to find myself for the first time in my life. And every step I’ve taken after that to be here today.
See, I know all we usually hear is how we should only focus on the present. Avoid dwelling on the past and thinking about the future. There is much peace that comes with that. I agree. We should live the present. The now. And look for happiness, peace, and serenity within us.
However, I don’t believe that means that the past and the future can’t serve a purpose as well. It’s all in how we use it. The past represents the journey that brought us here today, whereas the future portrays the unknown adventures we have yet to embark on. One can give us wisdom while the other can give us hope.
The past and the future can both add flavor to our life. So long as we use them to enrich our present. It’s a balancing act. You don’t need to let go of your past completely. Or deprive yourself of the hope that comes with believing in a better future. You just need to be mindful and ensure the past and the future don’t stop you from living the present. I mean truly living it.
1. CHERISH, LEARN & FORGIVE
Don’t forget where you came from. Everything you’ve gone through to be where you are today. Your roots, your upbringing, your family. They are all a part of who you are. So relish the treasures from your past that brought you to this present day. Reminisce over the successes you’ve accomplished and the challenges you’ve overcome. How you’ve evolved and grown as a result of this. Keep what serves you well in your memory and let go of what doesn’t.
As for the mistakes and failures, make sure to learn from them. Own them but don’t dwell on them. Just acknowledge them as stepping stones on your path to growth and development. And if you find that you have nothing to be proud of, or that your mistakes from your past are still tenants of your present, then use the past to make your life better. To create in the present a life that you’re proud of. And to make good use of those mistakes by becoming a better person because of them.
It’s all in the story we tell ourselves. So make sure to tell yourself you did the best that you could at that time. And if you didn’t, forgive yourself. And use the past as a reminder not to let yourself down again. But do it with love. And compassion. Lots of compassion.
2. DREAM, BELIEVE, HOPE
Love moves mountains. But so does hope. So hope for a future that you can look forward to. Dream about it. Envision it. Plan for it. Open yourself to the possibility of discovering new things you haven’t yet explored. Of expanding new horizons.
As they say, it is never too late to be whoever you want to be. This world is ripe with possibilities. And embracing that makes our present so much more exciting. Knowing that what we’re building today may bring fruits in the future even more sweeter than we could possibly imagine.
If the present gets dark at times, just remember that this too shall pass. Grab on to the hope that the future can give you. And believe that it will hold something better for you. That life will get better. And that you have the power to make it better. As long as you’re willing to work for it.
Most importantly, live your present. The sweet memories from the past and the hopeful dreams about the future are wonderful, but today is the breaking point. What you do today will determine your future just as today will become the past you reminisce about tomorrow. So don’t take it lightly. Dream, yes, but act on those dreams. Create. Build. Conquer.
Let the past be your teacher and the future the ever hopeful possibility that keeps you going.
So as I listen to Eros Ramazzotti in a perfect rapture, I’ll keep thinking about the journey I once embarked on with ruthless abandon. A journey that brought me here today. And I’ll hope and long for an even brighter journey in the future. One filled with far-flung adventures I have yet to experience. I’ll reminisce and I’ll dream. But neither the past or the future will keep me from winding up in an unmatched state of bliss that can only be experienced today.