It is easy.
It’s easy to lose our place. It’s easy to lose ourselves to the comparison of others. It’s easy to lose our focus.
It’s easy to notice our faults or to notice the things we lack. It’s easy to look around and see what other people have and, of course, then we look back at ourselves and see what we don’t have. This could be a job. This could be looks. This could be money or attention or fame or personality.
It’s easy to find problems. Or, if we look around, it’s easy to see what’s wrong with life. However, as easy as this is, it only serves to make life harder. Yet, we still look.
Here’s a question. What would make you happy?
The question is both simple and difficult. However, I ask this because I know there’s a simple answer and a complicated answer. There’s a long one and a short one. Then of course, there’s an honest answer, to which I submit that most times, people aren’t sure what happiness is.
What would make you happy?
This is a great question.
They say that you have to stop looking backwards to move forwards. I get that. But still. We often look backwards in fear that the past will creep up or haunt us again.
They say that you have to let go of the past in order to meet your future. Otherwise, all you’ll face is more of the same. However, most people agree that this is easier said than done.
The hooks of our past and the remnants of our memories are part of us. While we look to improve, we often find ourselves trying to relitigate our old misfortunes. We often review the past and find accountability for emotions or situations that are also unchangeable. I say this is unchangeable yet most times, here we are – trying to change the past again.
There is a fishing pier in Deerfield Beach, which is not too far from where my Mother used to live. Let me see, it has to be more than 20 years now. Or, wait no. It’s been more than 22 years since I’ve walked on the pier or fished the sides. It was raining the last time I was there. The sky was gray, like soft cotton, and the rainfall was steady and heavy at times. However, nothing was steady enough to stop me from this moment. I was young (of course) and I was in the midst of something unexpected.
Everything was empty. The boards on the pier were wet and slick. Beads of rain were dribbling down my face. There was something otherwise perfect about this. The rain, I mean. The emptiness of my surroundings, the absence of people, and me, just there, just for the moment.
There are smells that we have from our past, which come up when we come across them. Like the smell of honeysuckles in spring, which reminds me of a backyard from my youth. Or, the smell of pizza while walking by an open door at a pizza shop and then quickly, I am reminded of a corner store. I’m reminded of a slice and a coke and the first time I heard The Grateful Dead on the jukebox.
I want to talk to you about freedom. I want to talk about freedom from the bondage of self. And I say self, as in the I, me, the individual and the personal nature of one’s own life.
I want to encourage movement because otherwise, there is only the stagnant nature of things. There is only the “more of the same” and though I say this, I want to encourage myself as well as someone else. I want to inspire the person who is reading this who might be at the edge or who might be thinking about resigning or giving in.
How long ago was it? Or even if it was long ago, still, the question becomes, “Did it really happen?”
I swear the past is a thousand years ago or equally as good.
There was a time when everything was different. For example, I saw a young girl using an outdated flip phone the other day and thought to myself. “Wow. I remember them.”
I remember the time when cell phones had yet to make the scene. I remember a time when beepers and pagers came out. I remember a time when people used pay phones.
The one thing I know and that I’ve known for a while is that we often grip the details of our past. Whether this is regret or pain or sins from an old self; or whether this is the inability to get away from old thinking or old responses, I know what this is like. I know exactly who the past is. I know them well. In fact, sometimes I call this me. Sometimes I call this a mixture of who I was and who I want to be. Other times, I shake my head and asking the ever-popular question, “What the hell was I thinking?”
Why did I trust this person? Or, what did I say anything at all.
I could have kept my mouth shut. You know?
I know what it means to say something out of anger. I also know what it means to make a poor choice or wish I could take back something I said. Then again, I am sure that everyone knows what this is like. I’m sure there are people who’ve lied or said a mean thing; and now; to add color, they find themselves on the fringe of regret.
The saying goes that when the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser. And this fits us now, that rather than debate a fact or hear an opinion about a person, place or thing; people dive into ad hominem attacks in which we attack character or motives instead of debating the fact itself. I see this now. I see the character assassinations. I see this in politics. I have seen this happen with divorce. I have seen this with the cancel-cultures around us. I see the slanderous attacks on people which tend to linger and burrow far deeper than people imagine.
I get it. It’s the stressors in life. It’s the little crazy details that keep us thinking. Or better yet, this is what keeps us awake. Am I right?
One thought leads to two and then two to four, four to sixteen and then sixteen to oblivion.
Next thing we know; there we are, lying in bed with a mind filled with various thoughts, overthinking life and over-complicating the factors we face; as if we have to fix it; as if we are responsible for fixing the national debt, solving unemployment, curing cancer, stopping pain and suffering, and having conversations in our head when in fact, we should really be asleep.