Keep Your Eyes On The Road
March 7, 2016
My high school boyfriend sends me an email on my birthday every year. He lives in Rhode Island and we haven’t seen each other in over 25 years. I always respond with a quick snapshot of my life and sometimes hear back from him but generally not. Then another year goes by and he pops up in my inbox again.
When I see his annual greeting, I remember his crooked smile and great sense of humor. When an old flame from the past taps us on the shoulder, whether by email, FB or at the high school reunion, it is easy to slip into the daydream of “What if...?” What would my life be like if I had stayed with that person? My old boyfriend and I never actually broke up but faded away as education and career plans moved us apart geographically. The feelings of genuine fondness are still there making it even easier to imagine what my life would be if I had gone down that road.
Too many of us put our energy into wondering about the path not taken. What would life be like if I had selected that person, job or opportunity? Sometimes we throw away everything that we do have to pursue that other path only to find out that the grass isn’t so green over there after all. Though it is fun to wonder how things could be different, I find that keeping my eyes on the road that I currently am on is the only way to live. Happiness doesn’t come from wishing for things that aren’t there but rather from being grateful for what we do have. That is why the windshield is bigger than the rear view mirror. Knowing how you got to where you are today is informative and prepares you for for the next fork in the road. Glance at the past, if you must, and smile at the memory but put your energy into keeping your eyes on the road that you currently are on and at the horizon that stretches out before you. That is the only way to travel.