Fall is here! The colors are vibrant, the air has less humidity, and the evenings are cool. It’s one of my favorite times of year! My husband and I celebrated the season and his birthday by taking a short, scenic train excursion yesterday. Scenic it was! The mountains were alive with golds, reds, oranges, and greens. The bright blue sky boasted fluffy white clouds and the falling leaves whirled on the breeze like fairies. When we reached our destination we were not disappointed. The waterfalls and river glistened in the afternoon sun like diamonds. It was a fun and relaxing day except for one thing……
Our train traveled up then back down the mountainside on one track which means on one leg of the trip you’re sitting backward. I didn’t think much about it until a funny feeling came over me. Call it dizzy, woozy, or what you’d like, it wasn’t pleasant. Scenic or not, taking a trip backward is not what I prefer. Thankfully by adjusting my seat and where I focused on the landscape I was able to enjoy the rest of the journey back to the station.
If traveling backward is so uncomfortable, then why do I do it so often in life? It’s hard to say how many hours or even days I have spent looking back to times past when I was younger and skinnier, my children were little and I felt needed , love was new, or someone I cared about hadn’t passed away. During those times I yearn for the past and often perceive it to be better than today.
Unfortunately, I don’t only look back on “good times.” I more frequently return to the mistakes I’ve made, the people I’ve hurt, the people who’ve hurt me, and the things I wish I’d done differently. Returning to these memories produces that queasy, uneasy feeling just like my train ride down the mountain. These are painful reminders of my failures and I can recall them just like they happened yesterday. As a result unpleasant sadness and regret settle in my soul.
Have you too taken these backward excursions? It’s time to adjust our seats and change our focus! Why continue to waste our today by reaching back into yesterday? It ‘s becoming clearer to me that continually traveling back to the past takes me off track and is making it harder to reach my desired destination. The events of our lives, good and bad, have helped shape us into who we are today. Instead of clinging to them we need to focus on the joys we’ve experienced, the lessons we’ve learned, wisdom we’ve gained, and set our sights ahead to a future that is vibrant and alive. Whether life takes us up, down, or whirling on the wind we can be sure of one thing…… Living in the now and looking forward is the only way to travel!