Preface: If you don't understand the direct correlation between a cassette tape and a pencil... SCRATCH THAT. If you don't know what a cassette tape IS, you might be too young for this, bruh...
With the New Year swiftly on the horizon, I'm sure many of you are already starting to think of new goals to accomplish in 2016. Oddly enough, and perhaps relatively - I am instead choosing to step into the past and think about my 'forgotten self'. The person I might have been if only... [fill in the blank, here]. I'm talking about hitting the figurative rewind button and entertaining life's "what if's" and "coulda, shoulda, wouldas". We all have them. We all dream them. We all push them to the farthest corners of our mind, opting instead to stay in the present, because the present is a gift and all that jazz, right?
Now, just so there's no confusion - this post isn't about regrets. Per Google, to regret is to "feel sad, repentant, or disappointed over something that has happened or been done, especially a loss or missed opportunity".
My proposed course of action is more so about taking a moment to have reverence for a vision, a dream or a hope for your life that, up to this point, has gone unfulfilled. It's about the dream we all have of re-branding ourselves, re-routing our paths, or maybe just re-doing a particular event. In doing so, it doesn't necessarily equate to being sad or disappointed about where you were or where you are now in life... It's simply a decision to acknowledge the reality of possibility.
(Hmm... "Acknowledging the reality of possibility." Damn, that's good. *saves in iPhone for title of future memoir.*)
I don't recall really knowing what I truly wanted to be in life when I was a little youth. It probably wasn't until junior high or high school that I started to create a mental wish-list or vision-board for what I wanted my adult life to look life. The 3 things I absolutely knew for sure were going to happen:
- I'd be some sort of creative - almost certainly a writer for a music publication like The Source or Vibe Magazine.
- I'd have my own really cool open-concept loft.
- I'd fall in love with a guy who would regularly write me beautiful poetry... you know... just because.
Basically, my life was supposed to be a splendid mix of...
(Five cool points to you if you know the titles and character names of the productions above!)
I'd soooo love to tell you that as a now 30-something, I've easily checked off all three of those boxes; but the reality is that I'm 0 for 3. I am not a published writer. I've never even set foot in a loft. And, let's just say that I'm light years behind when it comes to the prospect of riding off into the sunset with my 'soulmate'.
One might think that knowing I've (for lack of a better term) "failed at life" would cause me to weep and dissect every life decision that I've made so far. And you know what - on the occasion, I do like to throw myself a little pity party of one; but the party is always very short-lived though.
Because GRATITUDE and because POSSIBILITY.
These two simple concepts keep me from spiraling down on days when I feel like I perhaps have not lived up to being my best self. While I'm busy setting up conference calls and sorting through uninspiring emails at work, I'm simultaneously daydreaming of what my life as a creative would look like. I think about the "forgotten self", the "perfect self" that I had created in junior high, and I think about the myriad of ways my life could have turned out differently if only I had [accepted that job offer... or applied to this school... or given the other guy a chance]. On any given day, in my head, there are endless combinations of scenarios where my life could have been more 'noteworthy' than what it is, but...
1. (G)ratitude keeps me (G)rounded: I may not be a published writer in the traditional sense, but the fact that I am constantly writing and creating on my own terms, and willing to share it with you is pretty major for me. I may not have a cool loft, but I'm fortunate enough to have a cozy little home that I can call my own and family that I can always run to and call "home". I may not have found the guy who writes me beautiful poetry, but I've experienced what falling in love feels like and that feeling is something that I'll always be connected to and thankful for, regardless of the end result.
2. (P)ossibility gives me (P)urpose: Just because I haven't achieved the goals I once had, it doesn't mean I can't or won't. It just hasn't happened yet. In my mind, as long as I do something, no matter how small, everyday that aligns with or might lead to my goals, I'm content. I don't look at the decisions I made so far as "bad" or "wrong". I look at them as "necessary". Each one was a step on the path of a road that is still being built.
My close friends know that one of my all-time favourite go-to sayings is "It is what it is." I find myself saying that quite often to others and to myself. It's a phrase that, upon receiving it, sounds fairly dismissive and non-nonchalant; but it really is one of the golden rules life: we must accept what cannot be changed... It is what it is.
The dope thing about rules though, is that they come with built-in technicalities. In this case, the technicality is: It is what is it... but what IS isn't always what WILL BE. TRANSLATION: we can never change the present, but the present itself will always change. And that, guys & gals, is both the beauty and the bitch of life.
So, this holiday season - while I strongly encourage you to live in the moment & be thankful for what is, just know that there's absolutely nothing wrong with taking a moment to revisit a goal unfulfilled and breathing new life into your forgotten self.
All too often, when we choose to "let go of the past", we subconsciously equate that to letting go of our dreams.