his is the time of year everyone seems to slow down. For the past few months all we’ve thought about was preparing for Thanksgiving Dinner and getting out to the shopping areas, in order to show how much you love someone by how much you spend on them.
The Christmas rush is over, the New Years Eve celebration is a hangover you want to forget, and all you have left is to figure out where you are heading into the future before it happens. The election of 2016 seems to have lasted forever. In fact, it feels as though it is still going on.
Our nation is split in two with political ideologies having little conversation in order to lead our nation to a better place. People supporting Donald Trump believe America will be made great again. Those who lost are in fear our future will be defined by where we were in the past versus where we should be in our future.
The weather cooperated this year by laying down a thick white blanket of snow displaying a kind of clean slate. This new whiteboard has the tendency to sweep away the dust of the past.
I have a favorite saying that fits perfectly during this time of reflection. I am in no way taking credit for it and have no concept as to where I picked it up. However, it fits and it always goes to the front of my mind during this time of year which defines the new.
The saying starts out by stating the past is history. This seems like a simplistic statement but it becomes relevant when you look back and regret some of things that you did in the past. Everyone knows you can’t change the past and, even if you could, you should be wary of what would take its place.
This year was a tough year for regrets. I am aggravated with the fact I did not tell my wife the truth all the time. Now I am not saying I did anything appalling or horrific but sometimes little things have a tendency to become big things if you don’t pay attention.
I also regret I felt hate during the election of 2016. Hate is such useless emotion that always ends in regret. I regret certain comments I made to my colleagues, friends, and students. I didn’t make these remarks maliciously but after they left my mouth it was obvious they never traveled through my brain. Looking down at my forever-growing gut I remember another regret.
Last year, I promised myself I would go on an exercise regiment. I did well for the first few months but found more excuses during the year as to why I would miss a certain day on the treadmill or why I wouldn’t do quite so many sit-ups in the morning. All this did was erode what I was trying to do in the first place that was to live a bit longer and hopefully a bit better.
Other then these few transgressions I think I’ve lived a good life. I wish I wrote better and read more. I wish I could have answered more of my student’s questions about today’s technology and where it is taking us. I wish I had fought harder defending political and social values I know are right. I wish I had more courage to do so.
I wonder if I’m the only one who thinks about the concept of growing old. The more pasts you have the older you feel. Does anyone ever remember growing old? You live your life and get busy to the point you forget about time. Then all of a sudden something happens forcing you to slow down and think about the days of your life when you were too busy to pay attention.
In other words, the present becomes the past before you give yourself time to enjoy it. So, here I sit in my office enjoying what I consider as one of my favorite days. I look out my window and watch snow and ice mix in the air only to fall to the ground in what looks like an ocean of white gelatin. No one is walking around because the winds are strong.
One of my favorite sayings continues by stating the past is history by reminding all who dare to think the future is a mystery. Thinking back to where I was a year before I realize I had never had total control over what my future would be. Of course, now that my future evolved into my past I wonder what happened to my present.
I should write down what I think I’ll be doing a year from now but that seems dangerous because if I wrote it down I would be forced to view my own failings in trying to do what I thought I would do. Sure I would love to be selling my new book; have my students become successes; have my wife continue to become more beautiful than I thought anyone could be; and maybe even find a way to become all that I dreamed I would be.
Before I concentrate on the mystery of my future, I remember the last part of my favorite saying. In its entirety it states: “The past is history, the future is a mystery and there is a reason they call today the present.
Pushing back the dust of our pasts in order in order to enjoy and survive our future by Jim Fabiano.
Jim Fabiano is an retired teacher and writer living in York, Maine.
Maine Publisher’s Association Best weekly column award winner.
Email Jim: firstname.lastname@example.org