I am always searching for great ideas on which to build these blogs. The news, television, movies and my friends lives, nothing is off-limits. It isn’t as easy as I thought, however, and often I start one and have nowhere to go with it, two paragraphs in.
Luckily, I love to read, and often a passage in a book will inspire an idea for a blog. I have started to highlight passages as I am reading, so I don’t forget a quote that makes me think, something that strikes a chord. I came across such a quote last night. It appears in a book titled Come Sunday by Isla Morley.
An interesting book that takes place partly in South Africa. Having spent some months there in the 80′s, I understood much of the authors references to South Africa under Apartheid. It reminded me of the many dialects or tribal languages spoken and how my eleven year old son could understand everything being said around him and was able to tell which tribe a person was from by their accent.
The quote that made such an impression, was an old saying in Xhosa, one of those ethnic groups. “Your past is always with you–be friends with it and it will help you find a good future.” Often I find a phrase in a book, that states something I’ve always known in such a concise way that it makes my head spin, this would be one of those quotes.
I think as I am writing this it would be similar to the one I am more familiar with “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” by George Santayana It just sounds so much nicer in the Xhosa quote. I would say this watershed birthday of mine Is forcing me to look back and remember a great many things I had forgotten, both good and bad.
One of my favorite pass times is thinking back to how every decision, each crossroad can change the course of our lives. Just a few different choices, going back as far as choosing to attend college or not, and then choosing a college can set us on a path totally different from the one we would have been on had we made the other choice.
What if I had decided to go to school far from my New England home, or made a better choice for my first husband. Had I taken my parent’s advice and gone to law school after my divorce or not moved to Los Angeles with my second husband. It is not to say I would have had a better or worse life, just a totally different one.
The takeaway in all of this, don’t live in the past but don’t run away from it either, enjoy all your good memories and recall the not so good ones. Hopefully there are fewer of the latter. Once we have a little distance from the seemingly bad events or G-d forbid, mistakes; we might be able to get some insight into our future.
Hopefully that insight should enable us to make better choices as we begin our second or third act. What do you know about yourself now that you didn’t know twenty years ago? More important how can you use that information to make these years more productive and have a little fun at the same time.