“Oh right, I forgot,” he sneered at me. “It happened two minutes ago, so to you, it’s over. It’s in the past.”
I had a partner who regularly scolded me for the fact I like to settle into the moment, live in the present and not look at the past or the future too much. I prefer to look at the current situation, and while (of course) the past may affect it, I proactively do not let myself get sucked into the vortex of “the past.” He, on the other hand, was constantly obsessing over the past; things I had done, things I hadn’t done. He wanted me to tell him stories about my past, over and over again, and when I refrained or tried to steer it to a conversation about the present, it was often stated as a sign that I “didn’t care about him enough.”
For him, whenever he talked to me about his life, I was always surprised on how much he focused on the past. He would talk about his resilience and adversity, and a lot of the things that went wrong. It was a constant “throwback Thursday” when he talked about scrapbooks and memories. We’d talk about our day-to-day lives and important aspects, but when it came down to deep conversation, it was always a dive into the deep end of past emotions.
Sometimes when I was around him, I felt anxious and wound tight – sometimes being wound so tight, I would spring out of pure tension. Besides being a relationship with some unhealthy qualities (but not all), it got me thinking…
Have you ever heard the saying:
Well, for him? He suffered from depression. For me? I often found myself anxious. Now? I have my ups and downs, but generally speaking have felt more at peace than ever before in my life.
During this relationship, my anxiety was highly centred around planning for the future; with him or for myself, whichever way you look at it. I wanted a future, but it’s hard to settle into the moment and discuss the future with someone who can only focus on the past. So, I did what I needed to do and cleansed myself of the situation and the relationship. Now more than ever I focus on the present moment. I live for today and am okay with whatever tomorrow might bring. I still ask questions about my past and recognize my past happened, but it’s not the focus of my life.
This guy was right about one thing though, I shouldn’t put the past in the closet so quickly, or at least my closet needs to have a door that opens because we need to remember the good and the bad of experiences. We need to know that the time we put our hand on the straightener, it burnt our hand; what aspects of our relationships were healthy or unhealthy to assess if we should let someone back in; signs of danger or disappointment and make better decisions.
Yes, our past is important and serves a purpose, but the most important day is today. Settle into the moment and decide – what are you going to do with the greatest gift of all? The present.