Facebook likes to remind you about your past. Every day lurking at the top of my newsfeed sits a memory. Most days the memory is a happy one: the day my husband and I first met our sons; the anniversary of our children’s adoptions; a memorable photo from an otherwise unmemorable day. But sometimes the memory is a ghost from the past, a moment best left buried and forgotten. Yet there it sits, not so much haunting as taunting you.
It invites you to stroll down memory lane. It dares you to dip your toes into yesterday. It calls and most days you answer. Your mind begins to drift away — six months, a year, two years, five years, twenty years. One minute you’re a gay 40 year old father of two trying to keep it all together and the next you’re a sexually confused 20 year old college sophomore making out with some girl because, why not?
Oh, the past.
We love the past. We romanticize it. We rewrite it. We have the benefit of being able to view the past from the present. Twenty years ago I was a college student studying in England and traveling through Europe. Fifteen years ago I was operating a small community theater. Ten years ago I was living in New York. Five years ago I had a wonderful circle of friends.
At least that’s how I look at the past now….but the truth is: Twenty years ago I was a college student studying in England and traveling through Europe under a mountain of crushing debt. Fifteen years ago I was operating a small community theater at the expense of my relationship with my husband. Ten years ago I was living in New York with a violent bi-polar lunatic. Five years ago I had a wonderful circle of friends because I operated a small community theater.
The past has its purpose. It gives us perspective. It teaches us. It reminds us of all the things we were capable of achieving even in those moments when it seems we did nothing but fail.
But the past is yesterday. The present is today.
And I have a great today. Today I am a published author. Today I am a husband. Today I am a father. Today I am happy.
I understand that none of the things I have today would have been possible without the benefit of yesterday. Still, instead of feeling beholden to yesterday I prefer simply to say thank you and skip the daily strolls down memory lane.
I choose this moment, right now.
So this New Year’s Eve rather than making resolutions about the future or looking back on all the things you did/did not accomplish this past year, why not just take an inventory of all the things you have right now?
The love of a good man. The joy of two incredible children. The beauty of family.
Happy New Year, indeed!