I remember teaching my daughter, Hannah, how to back up when she was first learning to drive. At first she wanted to use the rearview mirror, but she soon found out she had trouble steering just like we all did once upon a time. Looking backward, it was tougher than I first thought it might be. I had to remind her that she needed to look back over her shoulder so she could see more of the area behind her. A bigger, better, and clearer, more unobstructed view of what was there lurking behind the car.
And now there are some cars with the camera that shows the area behind the vehicle. One of our cars has one, and to be honest, I’m so used to turning around and looking, I forget that it’s even there. Old-fashioned, I guess.
Interesting concept though: looking backward.
The thing is . . .
Looking Back Through The Rearview is really only good for one thing: moving backwards. Looking Back Through The Rearview is really only good for one thing: going in reverse. And while going backward or going in reverse will get you moving, and while going backwards or going in reverse is sometimes necessary, it’s often uncomfortable and one can’t sit like that for very long.
Got me thinking . . .
It’s nice to reminisce every so often. It’s nice to go back and “remember when” once in a while, but often we end up telling and retelling the same stories over and over again. We tell ourselves the same things over and over again. We end up dwelling on our foibles, our faults, our shortcomings, and we kind of fall in and remain in a rut of old stories and old memories, sometimes funny, sometimes bitter sweet, and sometimes downright painful.
And just like driving and looking Back Through The Rearview, we don’t really go anywhere important, anywhere really meaningful. Nowhere at all, really.
I do know it is important to take a look back every now and then because by doing so, we learn from where we’ve come. By looking back, we see just how far we’ve gone.
But by keeping our eyes on the sights already behind us, we don’t progress. We review the same road, the same traveled territory, and I believe it can, and often times will, stunt our growth.
Just as when we drive our vehicle down the road, it might be best to glance every so often Back Through The Rearview to check on our travels, to check on our progress. But just to check. Only just to check. Because if we keep our eyes fixed on where we’ve been rather than where we’re going there are accidents- to ourselves and to others.
Life is meant to be lived in the forward rather than in the backward. Life is meant to be lived moving forward, and seeing where one is headed, and only every so often, looking backward to see where one has been.
Life is more exciting, more interesting looking ahead, looking forward, rather than looking behind. We need to allow the past to remain there. Perhaps remember it every so often. Obviously to learn from it. But we cannot grow and become by dwelling in the past, by remaining in the past. Learn from it and then move on. Always, move on. Something to think about . . .
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Thank you for your comment. I welcome your thought. Joe