Sometimes I get anxious about the passage of time.
But maybe anxious is the wrong word. Maybe it’s more a feeling that exists somewhere between melancholy and restlessness. Sometimes it isn’t even about melancholy though, and just something I process more through a lens of acceptance and peace.
The older I get, the more people I meet, and so naturally more and more people start to come and go in my life. It’s been a difficult thing to accept actually, that people are meant to come and go. That it’s natural, and that not everyone can and should stick around forever. I often wonder, if other people are as affected by this as I am, and I wonder how many other people lie awake at night thinking about who they knew in their past, who was special to them, and who they once were themselves. I don’t necessarily think about it because I long for those times again and wish I could go back, but more because I miss the fact that they existed, and now they’re gone.
I think about people I used to know, people I used to love, and in many ways still do, and people that might never realize the profound impact they had on me. I think about people I’ve hurt without realizing it, people who have hurt me, and I think about whether or not those things would have happened if we all knew what we know now. I wonder if our lives would be different if we’d understood then the reasons for each other’s behaviours and actions.
I think these types of thoughts about my past, and thoughts about past versions of myself, start to creep up on me and become most prevalent when I'm about to step into a new chapter of my life and become the next version of myself. I think this is probably true for a lot of people.
I have always been someone who tends to hold on to my past dearly, so I’m not super good yet at independently initiating dramatic change in my own life. As I make my decisions, I have to constantly remind myself that change is good. And more than that, that change is necessary.
I always feel like everything I’ve experienced already flashes through my mind right before I step into something I haven’t experienced yet.
Almost like my mind is preparing me for what’s to come by allowing me to reflect on my last chapter and those who were in it, while asking me one last time if I’m suuuure I’m ready to leave this part of my life behind and forge ahead. For me, this is always the scariest point in the process of change. The point where you have to make the decision about whether you truly and actually want to move forward or not.
I think a lot about the word inertia.
About how an object in motion is more likely to stay in motion, and an object in stillness is more likely to stay still unless prompted by something. I think we all think a lot about where we are and where we want to be, but often struggle with the conflicting dynamics that dominate the transition period that physically brings about a change. Sometimes comfort and familiarity keep us in stillness for a really long time, and the force that changes this course of action can only come from the conscious decision inside to make it happen.
Identifying with your past and with who you were, who you loved, who loved you, and what worked for you in the past, can sometimes make sure you stay stagnant. I've definitely fallen into this trap before, trying so hard to keep things as they were because even if they weren't great, at least they were familiar.
We're told that the older we get, the more we'll understand. About our own lives, our own beliefs, and the positions of others. I often still get caught up in dwelling about something I might have said or done to someone many years ago without realizing then the way it affected them. I’m a firm believer in honesty and sincerity, and if I find an opportunity to make amends, even years later, I take it, every time. But if there’s no opportunity, I promise myself to approach the people that might lie in my future with the respect and appreciation I wish I’d been more conscious of in my past.
The most important thing I’ve come to understand though, is that no matter how long it takes to achieve, you need to keep finding ways to come to peace with your past, so you can allow that peace to be what guides you forward and keeps helping you evolve.
Time is the biggest enigma in life. We all come into each other’s lives at some random point in our own personal journeys of understanding and self-development, and we get one chance to meet each other half way and build a relationship based on what we understand mutually, and as individuals, in our given amount of time together.
Your past doesn’t dictate what your future looks like, and the future you want won’t start happening unless you decide to actively start forming it. Often, this is only possible once you let go of the past. Not because whatever happened to you wasn't important, or special, or heartbreaking, or cruel, but because letting go is necessary to make room for your future growth and survival. Forgiving others, forgiving yourself, and finding the lessons in your experiences takes incredible strength.
Changing over the years doesn’t mean you are losing yourself. It just might mean you are consistently coming to terms with who you were and who you are, and who you would like to be moving forward. And then doing that all over again a million times.
Whenever you’re doubting yourself or are nervous about taking a big step forward, remember to remind yourself that change is good, and more than that, if you do want to keep on moving forward with your time, that change is necessary.
And either way, change is completely inevitable. Things aren’t meant to last exactly as they are for the rest of eternity. That used to make me sad, until I realized how much more valuable all of our encounters are once we know that they can't last forever.
Once we know that the only thing we can keep forever, is what we learn from them before we carry on.
Wiser, stronger, lighter.
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