I recently got a new car with some bells and whistles that are hard to get used to. I've been driving for a very long time and all of sudden I don't even know how to change the radio station. I wish there was a knob instead of a touch screen! This car also has a back up camera, but there's something unnerving about that and I struggle to totally submit to the dashboard monitor. I find myself still craning my neck and looking back over my shoulder just to be "sure".
This whole experience of adjusting to change got me thinking about the rear view of life. We often look back to good and not so good things while still looking forward. It's a lifelong challenge to balance that forward motivation with rearview reflections.
One day when I was driving (and unable to change the radio station) a reference to a song was made. I'm guessing you haven't heard of it and its not on your playlist since it was written in 1919, but like any good piece of art, its theme is timeless. The title says it all - Oh How I Laugh When I Think How I Cried Over You. So many experiences in our lives seem devastating or critically important at the time, but upon further reflection, down the road, the angst and emotional upheaval was way out of proportion to the reality. People miss enjoying what they do have because they're focused on what they don't have or what could have been. Some find themselves in conflict or even estranged from loved ones but can't remember why or what started it. They hang on, white knuckled and keep looking back with a burning fixation. That's a bad idea because it's likely going to end in a crash and burn or at the very least a broken axle in the next big pothole that was in clear sight but not seen.
Being in the second half of life (ok maybe 3rd quarter) certainly affords a different perspective illuminated by experience. I have come to learn how adaptable humans are and if your behaviors are anchored directly and thoughtfully to your values - life is good. Getting overly upset or attached to negative thoughts, words, or behaviors is like driving with your eyes closed. Not a good plan!
But life is not always easy. Loss, sickness, sadness, and tragedies will cause unavoidable detours on your journey. You don't have to go looking for those, they will find you. Saving your precious emotional resources for those times and not wasting them on unnecessary, self manufactured, stressful nonsense will help you maintain a much better perspective and move forward with more grace and ease.
After all, there's no sense crying over something that you'll be laughing about down the road when you do glance in that rear view mirror.
Can you think of an incident that you blew out of proportion ?
What was the real "issue" under the "issue"?
How can you better maintain a perspective that helps you navigate life in a way that's fulfilling, creates more happiness and keeps you from the damage done by hitting those negative potholes so hard?