“You couldn’t relive your life, skipping the awful parts, without losing what made it worthwhile. You had to accept it as a whole–like the world, or the person you loved.”
[Stewart O’Nan, The Odds: A Love Story]
Lately, I’ve been fixated on how good my life is. I know – you wouldn’t think that having a good life would be a bad thing. And, obviously, it’s not a bad thing; it does, however, complicate things. When things are good – genuinely, truly good – it means that there is so much more to lose.
Relationships – romantic, friendly, familial or otherwise – are wonderful and terrifying all at once. Everyone gets hurt and broken at times and, if we didn’t, we wouldn’t be able to recognize the good things in life when they were standing right in front of us (literally or metaphorically). But the imprints left on our souls and the scars left on our hearts from years past are near-constant reminders of how it feels to lose the things or people we hold dear. Those memories stay with us, nestled in the back of our minds, and seem to reappear when we least expect them to.
So, how do we fight our own memories? How do we move forward with our lives and fight the past when something inside of us seems desperate to ruin the present?
I have no answers or, honestly, even inklings of answers. I only know that, at the end of the day, it is up to us to decide how to face our own demons. How you confront and accept your own individual past is in your control. The most important thing to remind yourself of is, in my opinion, perspective.
If you have someone who loves you – really, truly loves you – and takes care of you, you can choose to love them back without reservations or you can choose to fixate on your past, letting every droplet of pain and regret culminate into an unstoppable flood.
Every day, the choice is yours.