Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Past or Present: Where Do You Live?

Lehmann Laughter

It’s Week 6!

As a quick run down, this link-up is based on these two articles – here and here. You are free to take the topics in any direction you like – I am only providing a guideline to get the ball rolling. Hell, I may not even follow what I wrote. I’m a rebel in that way.

You can find the remaining topics by clicking here or downloading the PDF.
If you’re interested in how the previous weeks went down – Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4 & Week 5.

Past or Present

The present. That’s where I like to spend most of my time. I’ve held bitterness in my heart for things that have happened to me in my past or for things that I’ve done (to myself or others) and the only thing that seems to come from that is unhappiness.

And I don’t know about you but being unhappy is not something I strive for.

I’ve talked about my mother before but that was probably well before most of my readers came around. Short story is she made some bad decisions in her life that affected her children – with the root of that grounded in alcoholism. That resulted in a chain of events that eventually led her to prison and her three kids without a parent to raise them. We were very fortunate in the way it worked out (God was certainly looking over us) and have had some wonderful friends & family step in and take care of us over the years.

She was released 4 years later.

Things she missed: high school graduation, prom, first boyfriends, first kisses, softball games, being mascot, marching band, hugs, learning to cook, birthdays, Christmases, and so much more that I know I’m forgetting.

I was bitter for a long time about these things, but once my mom was released I made an honest effort to let it go. It took me a while but by the time I hit my mid-20s something clicked – she’s an adult, she made the decisions she had to make based on her life & her circumstances, it just sucks that they affected others like they did. I don’t have the power to change any of that.

But I do have the power to not let it hold me back.

And I have the power to not let the cycle continue (alcoholism runs in our family); so I focus on the present. I keep the past in my back pocket, where I can pull it out when I need to be reminded of how grateful I should be for the life I do lead but I don’t let it weigh me down. Not anymore.

Realizing that people make mistakes, that people can change, that I’m not limited to who I was but rather to who I want to be has been one of the most freeing and beneficial things that I could have ever done with my life.

Now, you tell me – where do you live?


Holly said...

I am definitely with you on living in the present. I actually focus more on the future, too, and that also gets in the way. But I've re-dedicated to living in the now because otherwise I will miss out on things that are happening RIGHT NOW if I don't stop to enjoy the moment. It's an important thing and one everyone should be reminded of!

Thanks for sharing stories of your past. I think it's good to get that out, even to people who don't really "know" you, because it helps you move on :)

Genna said...

Wow I went back and read that post that you linked to and just wow. You are so amazingly strong and honestly your mom sounds like an amazing woman to have gotten through all that. Your past was rough and I definitely think that helped your develop the "present" mindset which is an awesome blessing!

jaime said...

I TRY to live in the present. It's easier some days than others. (I'm loving these questions, by the way. Thanks for posting them!)

Miss Nutralicious said...

Thanks for sharing this story! It makes me happy when people are able to move beyond a challenging past to become happy in the present. I agree that things happen and then life moves on, but sometimes it is so hard not to dwell on things from the past. You have such a positive outlook! It must have been so hard to not hold grudges with your mom, but I'm sure the happiness gained from letting things go was super worthwhile.

For me, living in the present is the easiest place to be happy. I think living in the past tends to make me sad. However, my biggest struggle is to not live in the future. I am always thinking about the future and it makes me feel so anxious! The present is the place to be! :)

The Lady Okie said...

Wow. I didn't know that about your family! I really admire you for changing your family's history of alcoholism and moving past what your mom did. I can see how it would be hard to not live in the past with stuff like that. I'm really enjoying these posts of yours, even if I am being lame and haven't joined in yet...