I’ve never been one to focus much on the past. For me, the future is bright and the present is the only place we really exist now. You find happiness in the day to day – the last 9 years have proven that to me. I get my quality of life from focusing on the present moments – not from planning and not from remembering. However, you do need to plan some things out and the past needs to be recognized sometimes.
As I’ve written my memoir, it’s been a great exercise in seeing how I’ve progressed since I began my journey out west. It coincides with my writing and mental health journey. It’s been an entire decade of self-discovery and learning what really makes me thrive and tick. I can also see how my pattern to brush off the past has caught up with me. I kind of swept certain things under the rug because they were in “another life” rather than taking a few moments to absorb how those things affected me and my present situations. In therapy, I’ve avoided talking about certain things because I didn’t think it applied to my new free life in Alberta/B.C. But some of those past relationships in Ontario did shape how I approached relationships at present. There are some things you need to recognize so you can fully let them go. If you ignore most of your past, you’re not going to take with you the lessons you’ve learned from it.
I remember when a lovely relationship ended in the fall of 2020 and I was grieving since I wasn’t expecting it to end so abruptly and I genuinely loved the person. His friends (and others I talked to online) kept telling me to move on, work hard, etc. But I was already physically moving on and keeping busy. I’ve always been a productive person and I literally moved further away from the guy. The thing is, I needed time to fully process the loss. And it wasn’t a clean break – sometimes he’d keep the door open a little by messaging me how much he missed me or loved me. It’s hard to move on when a part of you hopes they will come back. If I stood back and looked at the patterns he’d already demonstrated, I could have seen that despite his nice words, he probably wasn’t going to commit a second time. A little therapy can help if you find it’s been 6 months or a year since a breakup and you still feel attached to the person. If I ever went through something like that again, I’d get therapy. Working hard and keeping busy can help take your mind off things, but it’s not going to fix something like attachment and grief. Therapy, time, new activities/friendships, and self-care are things that can help you gently move on from something like that.
Sometimes you need therapy to help you avoid repeating old patterns or ways of thinking. This is where focusing on the past (for a little bit) can be helpful. Because the places you came from and the people you grew up with and had your first few relationships with shape the person you grow into – whether we like it or not.
Writing a memoir is such a cool exercise in that you get to remember some really great times as well as the things that shocked or horrified you. Especially since I was more of a sheltered child and teenager (I’m not complaining or judging, this is just a reality), I got to learn or see certain things in my 30’s that some people already knew in their teens. Of course, I’m still learning. Life is a never ending lesson, but I do believe it’s meant to be enjoyed. Struggles happen, but they’re meant to be overcome rather than a continuous issue. As I look back, I see some patterns at how I’d walk right into danger without caution or entertain people I should have run away from. Those are important things to recognize so you don’t fall back into those patterns again. Some dangers came to me – I was minding my own business and they decided to inflict their darkness onto me. That wasn’t my fault at all and I recognize that fully. I think I still have a remarkable ability to trust despite how many times my trust has been betrayed. I’m not going to walk into a stranger’s home, but I will give someone the benefit of the doubt until proven that they can’t be trusted.
Memoir writing isn’t for everyone. We’ve all got stories to tell but that doesn’t mean we need to write a book about one of our phases or memories. I will say that if you’re curious about writing one, you should go for it. It’s an amazing way to appreciate how far you’ve come, what you accomplished, and how some of the failures/bad situations showed how strong you really are.
So while I am a present-focused person, I’ve now been balancing that out by planning wisely for the future and remembering the important lessons from my past.
And writing a memoir doesn’t mean you have to put it out there either. Just writing things down is a go way to organize, analyze, and make sense of experiences and timelines. What you do with it is up to you.
Thank you so much. :3
I love that you’re writing a memoir because no one is better equipped to write it – than YOU. I also agree with you on the therapy recommendation. Sometimes getting over a relationship is really, really hard and a therapist can help shine a light on some confusing emotions and help guide people through those tough decisions. I’m looking forward to reading your memoir and inspired to keep working on my own. Hugs to you, Sara xx
Thank you so much! 😊 I appreciate your kind words and I hope you enjoy it. I’d love to read yours when it’s done!