Tuesday, November 1, 2011

What Keeps You Keeping On?

In the last week, I've heard the same thing from two different people: There's no point in looking back. That's not where you want to go anyway.

My husband is more succinct. He just says: I don't look back.

That philosophy, I believe, is the only thing that keeps a person's head from going below the water, from falling into the abyss, from whatever precipice you find yourself teetering on.

Don't look back.

Looking back, whether it is at past successes or failures, does nothing to help your present reality. If you keep dwelling on what has gone wrong (my instinctive go to reaction, unfortunately) it will only cement your negative thinking. Conversely, if you only think about all the wonderful things that have happened in the past, it will either make you crave more and bigger things (which can be good sometimes) or make you dissatisfied with what you have now (it's not as good as it was before!). Either way, you won't be happy.

So what's the answer?

Move forward. Keep your eye on the next day.

Or better yet.

Deal with today. Enjoy today. Make it through today. Make today count.

Because while the past may hold some answers, it can also hold you back.

In the most wise words of one of my favourite Pixar characters, Dorrie, from Finding Nemo: Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming...


  1. This is so true, Nelsa, and something I need to remind myself of often. I used to get stuck on every little mistake, dwelling and obsessing over them. (And still sometimes do.) Which is of course, useless, since we can't go back anyway. Letting things go is the only way to keep moving forward. Perhaps I'll adopt Dorrie's mantra as well.

  2. Hey, inluv! It's so hard to let things go. But as I go through this reno it seems that it's a lesson I will be forced to learn! :)

  3. For some reason, it's easier to look back than it is to look forward. I don't know why. Maybe the past, the known, is just easier to deal with (for me anyway). But looking back doesn't do much good, does it?

  4. We're in total agreement. Which is why I've never been to my high school or college reunions. *grin*

  5. Hi JE! I completely understand. I struggle with this concept all the time (I think it's genetic. Or a learned behaviour passed down from my mom!)Good luck with looking ahead to all the possibilities of the future and packing up all the limitations of the past!

    Hi Linda: I'm totally not surprised to find out you're a live for today, seize the future kind of gal! And even though I went to two of my high school reunions I'm not interested in any future ones.

  6. I’m in awe of those who have no regrets, no ‘what-ifs,’ and always look forward. I envy them, but can’t join them.
    As a writer, looking back has been a resource of riches. Maybe harvesting this thinking about the past is another way to go.

  7. Looking back can be dangerous. I love that you quoted Dorrie (Is that really how you spell her name?) I love Finding Nemo and now I'll probably have "Just keep swimming" in my head all day. :)

  8. Hi Mirka! Like everything - it's how you approach it, I guess. Looking back (if not obsessive or being negative) can be instructive. Not dwelling is the key I think.

    Hi Kelly! Isn't Dorrie great? One of the most underrated philosophers around! :)