When cell phones first became available on the public market, society quickly embraced the new luxury/convenience item. Some of the original models were the size of footballs, or were so clunky they had to be carried in a bag. Yet consumers wanted them and purchased them in droves. Year after year the demand for cell phones increased, along with better technology and design, and no one could have predicted all the changes that were yet to come.
We all had our favorite phone, the one that felt most comfortable in our hands and was easy to use; and of course we’d grumble and complain when those phones broke or became obsolete and we were forced to choose a newer model. But now we carry our sleek, wallet-sized phones that do everything—texting, navigating, games, fitness tracking, banking; it’s all there for our convenience.
Life is like a cell phone.
Think about it.
Our (life) model is ever-changing, and when it does, there is no going back. We have to choose something else. Daily living has a natural evolution to it and change is inevitable—some for the good, some not-so-good (at least in the moment). Sadly, many of us romanticize the past. We say things like “when I was young,” or “at my last job,” or “before my husband died,” everything was good. And those statements may all be true; things may have been good. But once change has occurred, we are different. We may not see it, feel it, or want to acknowledge it, but it’s true. To try and go backwards would be like putting an adult foot into a child’s shoe. We’ve outgrown it. Still, we get stuck in the rut of our past and convince ourselves that this is what fits us best. This mindset is detrimental to our health and happiness.
The past is a robber of both the present and the future. If we tell ourselves that life is never going to be as good as it was, we allow our circumstances to strip us of the opportunities and blessings in our present lives, and we forfeit the good that is yet to come.
Past things don’t belong in a present world. Imagine sitting in a restaurant and the person at the table next to you pulls out one of those original model bag phones and begins to make a call. Wouldn’t you be asking, “What’s wrong with them? Why don’t they use one of the newer, more convenient models? Don’t they want their life to be easier? Why are they carrying around all that baggage when they don’t need to?”
When we can’t let go of our past, that’s what we look like to those around us. Some of us are white-knuckled from holding on to the past so hard, while in our hearts we know it’s time to just let go. We must allow ourselves the freedom to change, grow, evolve, and move into a healthy present. Many want to go straight from the past to the future—to figure out what’s ahead, but there is only one road, one passageway to the future and that’s through the present. So be present, and stop dwelling on the past.
As Rick Warren states in his book, The Purpose Driven Life, “We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners to it.” Set yourself free to embrace the present and you will guarantee yourself a much brighter future.