For a long time I’ve believed that, to fix something, I needed to think back to mistakes and learn. I had to lean into my past, nudge up against old mistakes and work out what went wrong. It meant unpacking aged, sincerely sealed mind-boxes and re-laying the items in a way that I could see the formula to avoid repeating. And yet, every time I did it, if I am truly honest, it felt not only too painful but also too retrospective. It assumed that I was still that very same person with identical triggers, notions and values. And I don’t think that’s possible. Even when the same old life patterns seem to pop up now, it’s an over-simplification to class them as the same. There are nuanced differences and slightly tangential influences in play because I have changed with time, no matter how subtly.
Now, whilst I get that old blocks and connections need to be cleared and rewired, I don’t want to keep regressing myself to old states. I don’t want to feel like I’ve come so far to keep looking back into the same dark tunnels to rehash that which didn’t ‘go to plan’, whatever that means. Now I want to trust that, with some introspection, I know where I am and what I need to do without lugging around old baggage with which to slow my gait.
As I go forward, the more I realise that the limitations are my own. They are obstacles I build and weights I carry. So slowly but surely I’m stepping out of my own shackles. I’m tired of time travel back to pasts that no longer serve me. I’m stepping up to happier thoughts instead of looking to trip myself up. I’m looking around for the next great thing instead of the shadow lurking behind the new door.
And the truth is, it makes for an easier life. It takes less energy to be happy than being melancholic. It’s easier to be optimistic than ‘realistic’, which generally translates as cynical. And if you don’t believe me, try stop watching TV for a day. Or watch it but with an awareness of exactly how much fear some popular shows inculcate into the core of our cultural psyche and how much that weighs us down. It’s easier to believe that things will get better than to sit under the pressure of pessimism. Because surely, if one of our strongest instincts is that of survival, that extends to our spirit as well as our body, it’s not like the two are divisible anyway.
And the best thing about forward fixing? Every single day is a fresh start. If I faltered the day before, my today doesn’t know that. Every single day I am afforded a clean slate which the past can never give you. Every morning greets me with a beautiful sky to remind me of my tiny and unique contribution to the world that day. Each and every different cloud configuration reminds me of all the possibilities that the day can bring if I just go with it. Each weather shift reminds me of the impermanence of our struggles, that the bad stuff shall too blow over and that the sun will always shine again for us. Each new shoot of plants that grow in each season reminds me that I too can fix and grow from where I stand, even from gaping cracks that look inhospitable to any form of life.