Set Your Sights
Monday June 28, 2010

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“When one door closesanother door opens; but we so often look so longand so regretfully upon theclosed door, that we do not see the oneswhich open for us.” —Alexander Graham Bell

During the past few weeks, I have encounter a handful of instances in which I was reminded that the past cannot be what someone continually plays in the forefront of their mind if they want to move forward to a life even better than they had originally planned.

So why do people gaze so longingly at their past?  While most accept that life is perpetually changing, and nothing can be held as routine for eternity, there is comfort to be found in what we know,or have known, even if wasn’t all roses and fairy dust.  In knowing, you know how to behave, interact, respond and in the end, you can go to bed at night comforted in that knowledge without worry to keep you awake.

I recently finished reading Liz Tuccillo’s novel How to be Single and it concludes with a message anyone can heed in their own life regardless of their marital status. Often, the life someone has planned and expected for themselves takes a detour, begins to follow a course that wasn’t expected, but instead of trying to conquer the new course, a person will fight it like a child who has been transferred to a new school.  Instead of picking up their head and realizing all of the new opportunities that are in front of them, they stubbornly waste all of their energy cursing the fact that they were forced to leave the school they had become accustomed to.

Shedding the desire of the life you thought you wanted, in essence letting go of a dream that will never be, isn’t easy.  It’s not like unbelting a robe that simply falls to the floor, but instead like trying to wriggle out of a dress that fit you like a glove.  It takes work and conscious, careful effort.

Changing course while in the middle of adulthood, or at any point where you’ve spent time, emotions and energy pursuing a goal, only to realize you cannot travel it anymore and must choose a different path, is daunting even frightening at times. Sometimes the decision to pursue a different life is made for you, and sometimes it is a decision you have made for yourself in order to realize an even better dream.

For example:  You thought “Joe” was the one you were going to spend the rest of your life with, but when it came down to it, your dreams were at completely different ends of the spectrum, or, the career you began to study for in college is not the one that your heart is engaged it. However, to be the adult, you must recognize that if you have to go against your own principles to make your dream happen, it is not a dream that you should continue to pursue. And is it really a dream if you would dread each day you were living it?

Changing the game plan feels at times as though you are starting from scratch again, but if you take into consideration all of the experience you have gained, all of the people you have met and education you have absorbed, you actually are further ahead of someone who is just starting out toward the end goal you now have defined as your intended target.  Take advantage of the lost dream and use it as proof that you are that much closer to finding the path you were intended to travel.  Instead of defeat, see it as an evolution of yourself, growth if you will.   As Oprah puts it,“The whole point of being alive is to evolve into the complete person you were intended to be.”

Now turn back around. Stop looking behind you, and instead start striding forward. The future is waiting. After all, Christopher Columbus said it best, “You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.”

15 thoughts on “Set Your Sights

  1. very true words. I know many who linger too long on the past. I, for one, am not among them. However, you can find me trying to force-close doors that aren’t quite ready to close and at other times get the door slammed right in front of me….

    everything has it’s time, I suppose.

  2. read your infor for advertising so it is good Morning Shannon : )
    It is so wonderful that you have a voice and thoughts that need to be said.
    I guess another visual way to look at it is to say shifting gears?
    I am glad that others are leaving comments–as well.
    Super Monday to you.

  3. I think I used to dwell on the past a lot when I was younger but now that I’m older and wiser 😀 I’ve become so much better at enjoying and loving my life…

  4. People dwell in the past because they are scared of change…I believe in “move forward but never forget” mantra…and I have to say that I don’t necessary believe in what you said about letting go of a dream you think you wanted…if it is still a dream, never, ever give up..

  5. Oh sweetie you post the most thought provoking topics. I absolutely adore coming here every day. This is such a great message…and I love the Christopher Columbus quote.

    I actually have never been much of a person to harp on the past. I’m too much of a compartmentalizer and I forge ahead no matter what. I’ve been told it’s my coping mechanism and that has help me succeed in life. Guess I’m fortunate about that…I count my blessings 🙂

    Hope you had a lovely weekend sweetie! xoxo

  6. A lot of times it comes down to “be careful what you wish for.” Sometimes the thing you want so badly really isn’t the best thing for you and you can only see that in hindsight.

    It is a little bit of a coincidence that you posted this today because I was just thinking about that reading I had and one of the things the lady said to me was that I needed to let go of the past and move forward so I could be fully happy. I guess that is one of those general things that can apply to just about everyone but a good reminder nonetheless!

  7. This post is beautifully written. I especially like your line: “Take advantage of the lost dream and use it as proof that you are that much closer to finding the path you were intended to travel.” My life has recently taken a 180 degree turn…so this post was especially meaningful to me. Thank you sweetie!
    XO Piper

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