Looking Back . . . Looking Forward

Courtesy of gagthat.com
Courtesy of gagthat.com

Henry David Thoreau said, “Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.” The past is gone. It’s over. You can’t do anything to change it. Ignore it and move on. Sounds like good advice, doesn’t it? I’m not so sure it is. Not completely. Our lives are filled with the monotony of daily living (often forgotten) as well as defining events (rarely forgotten) that secures our present and can set the path for the future.

As I see it, looking back only becomes problematic if we hold on to it so tight that it affects the present and future in a negative way. The tragedy or tragedies or the pressures of living can weigh us down or crush us to the point of near destruction. They/it fills every moment of our waking days and torments our dreams when we’re asleep. We can’t let go. We can’t forget. And we find ourselves existing in a fog.

So, what’s the alternative?

Courtesy of bitsofwisdom.org
Courtesy of bitsofwisdom.org

For starters, we can look at it in a different way. We can choose to look back–not to cling to the past–but to see how far we’ve come, the distance traveled, the amount of growth gained. Children don’t feel themselves growing, but just stand them against a wall, measure their height, and watch the smile on their faces when they see how much growth they’ve attained since the last time they were measured.

So it is with personal growth. We can’t be unaffected by the events in our lives, but we can change how we look at them. The event holding us back becomes a unit of measure, a yardstick, if you will, to show us where we were and how far we’ve come. It may only be one step away, but we gained a step. Where there was once a closed door, maybe now we’ve pushed the door open. Baby steps. Small things that mark the distance gained. A quarter of an inch of growth isn’t much, but for a child, it’s a mile. They stand taller and grin larger.

Courtesy of PersonalExcellence.com
Courtesy of PersonalExcellence.com

As an author who is approaching the third anniversary of the publication of my first novel, I can look back and reflect on how far I’ve come. Since the moment I pushed submit and nearly tossed my cookies doing so, I’ve accomplished quite a lot. Have I reached all my goals? No. Is it hard work getting out there–building a fanbase, an author platform, be active on social media and still find time to write? You betcha. And on any given day, I’m far from successful. I’m still learning. But I’ve come a long way from where I started.

And that’s the whole point. It’s the start of a new year. Let’s look back, assess, and then plan for the coming year. We should keep moving forward, unwilling to stay where we started. Being chained to the starting gate isn’t moving forward. It’s not living. If we insist on staying there, hugging what’s familiar, we stop living and time marches on without us. Opportunities that were meant for us go to someone else.

So, let’s be bold now. Let’s strike while the iron is hot. Let’s NOT give away our opportunities. Keep writing. Let’s learn something new about our craft each day. Cultivate positive, supportive friendships where we live AND online. Don’t be afraid to step out into the unknown.

2015 will be over before we know it and it will be time to look back, assess, plan, and move forward. How well we do that at the beginning of 2016 depends on what we do now, with the rest of the year.


My Wish For You in 2015

Have a wonderful 2015!
Have a wonderful 2015!

I couldn’t let the new year start without wishing all of you a happy one. On a scale of 1 to 10, 2014 will go down in history as about a 4, for me anyway. I was sick quite a bit and am still dealing with the aftermath of those darned pinched nerves. I didn’t get as much writing done as I would have liked, but that’s the beauty of a new year. By the way, resolutions aren’t necessarily bad things so long as we’re realistic and honest with ourselves.

On a positive note, I can type again, hold a book, knit, and move about freely. I have the company of family and friends, whose support is without measure. I owe a HUGE debt of gratitude to my fans. I thank you for your kind words, for letting everyone know about my novels and for dipping into your pockets for a chance to read one of them yourselves.

What are my plans for 2015? I’ll hit only the highlights, both large and small.

  • Complete book 2 of that Majesta Landing series, which is Tec’s story. You met him in book 1. He’s a helicopter pilot, a laid back man with a sense of humor. Everyone is a friend–everyone that is, until he meets Dr. Mairenn Vestergaard. She gives him a run for his money!
  • Finish knitting a pair of fingertipless (is that even a word?) gloves for my son. My next project will likely be an afghan/blanket.
  • Continue therapy for the pain in my back. What started in my upper back is slowly moving southward. For some reason, it reminds me of squeezing toothpaste out of a tube.
  • My grandson wants to learn to play the piano and guess who his teacher will be? You guessed it!
  • Get the garage cleaned out. We’ve lived in our house for almost 8 years and we never finished unpacking. Why is it we park $30,000 cars in the driveway and fill our garages with stuff? (My husband regularly threatens to bring in a dumpster.)
  • Lose a few pounds (isn’t that one ALWAYS on the list?).
  • And last, but not least: do a better job of staying in touch with my fans–more blog posts, Facebook interaction, etc.

Have a great year! As Captain Picard told his daughter in the Star Trek TNG episode, The Inner Light, “Live now, Meribor. Always make now the most precious time. Now will not come again.”

Don’t be afraid to chase your dreams. Make each day count.