Do you know what that means?
Planning your life looking backwards is like starting your life with the end in mind, with that end changing as you age and achieve or alter goals along the way. I’m turning sixty this year and now that I’m nearly that mark, it seems such a young number. Yet, if I look at it realistically, I know I have less time left on this earth than what I’ve already had. Planning becomes ever so much more important when you know there’s a deadline pending.
Years ago, I realized how much smarter, positively brilliant (ahem) I am six months after any given date. If only I could time travel, vaulting my thoughts and perspectives forward and then yanking them immediately back again. Maybe I wouldn’t make as many mistakes or miss as many opportunities.
How many phrases along this line have we heard time and again?
- Hindsight is 20/20….
- In retrospect, I would have…
- If I only knew then what I know now…
- If six months ago I had known ______ about today, what would I have done differently?
Maybe, in the last six months I would have held my tongue more frequently. Not in an effort to sound less stupid at times (that will keep happening), but in case I was hurting someone’s feelings or trying to leap over their words to get a word in. Hopefully, I would listen and nod more, giving more understanding than I was trying to get.
Changing my perspective
What do I want to accomplish now that in half a year I can look back and say: I’m happy I did ___________.
How many of us live life with forethought and planned objectives? The people I lean toward are those constantly moving with their actions, pressing on, growing into what they’re destined to become. I strive to go forward, allowing for a few sideways strolls here and there, after all I am a Cancerian June-baby Crab. There’s no direct path to where we want to go—there are several and we swing back and forth trying each of them in turn or sometimes at the same time. Despite the veering, I’m always proceeding onwards. I don’t like stagnation, which is akin to boredom, and boredom is like suffocating a slow death.
Circumstances have to change in my world because, well, because they can and they will whether I welcome them or not.
Breaking patterns from our youth
When I was a teen, I left home for a college three hours away because I knew if I went to the local university and stayed in proximity to my dad, I’d never leave him. Does that sound too weird? Too corny? It can’t be helped if I’m being honest. I was planning ahead because Dad was one of the coolest, most interesting people I’ve never known.
With me being a difficult red-headed, therefore temperamental teen, Dad was the one who understood, embraced, and nurtured. Mom—with cause—frequently wanted to ship me off to boarding school or the stockade, depending upon her frustration level. Dad was the pillar of support, my rock. I had to break away from his orbit the first chance I could or I’d have never gone. In leaving, I was able to have the life adventures I was destined for, that my heart craved, and my soul needed. I was able to come home again and be a better daughter when it counted the most.Circumstances have to change in my world because, well, because they can and they will whether I welcome them or not. Click To Tweet
Changing my perspective in simple ways
Are you one of those people who frequently rearranges the rooms in your apartment or house? I do so often and with great determination to find a new layout. The living room, TV room, bedroom, my office … poor Alex. I think he’s happy I can’t move the kitchen cupboards! Although, I have found minor ways of rearranging that room as well—turn the table the other direction, move the baker’s rack in or out, relocate the Nespresso machine….
Sometimes Alex walks into a room and finds me lying in the middle of the floor, the edge, the corner—splayed out like I landed there after some kind of weird tumble gone awry. That’s not an impossibility with klutzy me. “What are you doing?” He logically asks. “Changing my perspective,” I reply with what I think is a totally reasonable answer. My engineer rolls his eyes, laughs, and goes on about doing his next logical thing.
I’m trying a new plan, a new way of seeing the same old same old around me.
But keeping consistency
With my constant changing, I’ve tried to maintain friendships with people in the places I’ve lived and places I’ve traveled, intending to hold onto them for as long as possible. Thankfully, I have wound up with valued connections across North America and Europe. When the internet came along, it advanced friendships that otherwise may have faltered because of the cost of phone calls and the delay of snail mail.
I intend to continue my travels and to keep building friendships anywhere I can. People, those good influences I welcome into my hopefully captivating orbit, push me to venture ever onwards. The goal is to maintain those relationships that make life worth living.
Living my life backwards may not be a bad way to approach going forward, toward that sixtieth milestone. I don’t want to get to the end of my time here and have finished the list of things I’ve desired doing … nor do I want to get to the end and say with regret that I wish I had done __________.
What’s on your list that you want to look back on six months from now and relish that you experienced that very thing?
Let’s live a little bit backwards together.