What is the Benefit of Looking in the Rear View Mirror?

I’m told, “Live in the present. True happiness exists only here, right now, in this moment. Regret lives in the past, fear lives in the future.” Honestly, I do believe this. I believe that I should spend most of my time being present and appreciating what I have in front of me. Wishing the past were different or worrying about the future will not make me happier.

But there is value in being retrospective if I can do it in a constructive way. There is still so much for me to learn, so many ways I need to grow. I can’t do that without examining my past to understand why I do the things I do.

How have I handled things in the past? What patterns have developed? Are these healthy patterns or ones I need to change?

The past 5 months I have been focused on getting into shape. This is something I can do when paying attention to what is happening in the present. Why is it at the end of a particularly stressful day I feel like a glass of wine (or perhaps something stronger) is the best way to unwind? What does this do for me? How can I get the same feeling doing something healthier? These are all “present moment” types of thoughts.

But I want to maintain this healthier lifestyle and I know that in order to do that I need understand why maintaining it in the past has been a challenge. I am currently back to the weight I was when I went to Spain 2 years ago. It confuses people when I point to that particular trip as the cause of a 30 pound weight gain over 2 years. I didn’t gain the weight over that trip; in fact I only gained a couple of pounds during those 2 weeks. But it was during this trip that I broke the healthy habits I’d had prior to the trip.

I started eating gluten again (not an enemy to most but something I need to avoid due to my thyroid problem). I ate breads and pastries like it was my last chance. I drank wine with virtually every meal. As a result, the sugar cravings I’d previously overcome returned. I stopped running and instead started sleeping in. When I returned I lacked motivation to resume getting up at 5 am to tackle the treadmill, something that I had just started to maybe possibly enjoy before the trip.

By looking back on how I got to where I am, I can identify the things that might be a problem in the future. It allows me to make better decisions now, in the present. This is the moment that truly matters.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Retrospective

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9 thoughts on “What is the Benefit of Looking in the Rear View Mirror?”

  1. I agree. Looking back isn’t necessarily bad or good; it depends on the lens we’re looking through. We’ve accumulated a lot of very valuable lessons that can be applied in the present.

    Liked by 1 person

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