Monday, 2 May 2016

For Better, For Me (A): After All This Time.

You as a person are ever growing and ever changing.  You might not notice it at first as the changes may be tiny little aspects of your life but changes are definitely being made. Whether that be in terms of your personal life, professional life, love life or just life in general, depending on the daily decisions and choices you make slight changes or huge changes can occur and send you on a different path; this path can have both positive and negative elements.  It could be from deciding that your current job isn't for you and finally choosing to quit and go for something better, to procrastinating over sending your CV to the email supplied in the job advertisement for your dream job that  then becomes 'no longer available' to telling that person you like that you have feelings for them to arguing with a close friend and facing the possibility of losing them forever.  Each decision you make can alter your outlook, alter your prospective choices or alter your life path as a whole for better or for worse.

'Life is about Choices and hovering in the middle can be extremely frightening.  Remember, once you make a Decision, the Universe will conspire to make it happen...but you must choose' - Ralph Waldo Emerson.

As you get older you get wiser, you make choices and you make mistakes and on most occasions you learn from them. You might need a little longer than others to adapt to certain situations or a little longer to move on from a certain issue or more time than others to decide where you want your life to go but that doesn't mean you're not progressing in your own way or improving in a certain area where you currently feel dissatisfied.  Your life is constantly progressing, some elements even not by choice, even if nothing visual can be seen, your age for example is constantly increasing even if you're not using each year to its highest potential.  Therefore it's up to you to take control of the reigns and seek to make use of every aspect that you can - learning from the Past, living in the Present and preparing for the Future.  I've had almost 25 years of life and after all this time, nearly a quarter of a century, I'm constantly changing, constantly progressing and constantly looking for ways to improve, but there has been times when I too have been stuck in a rut and feeling unable to climb out.  I myself find change to be a daunting prospect and have used so many excuses and so many procrastination attempts to try and avoid moving forward.  It wasn't that I didn't want to move forward and progress, that's all I've ever wanted. I just found it so much easier to hide under my rock and not face the hardships of life on the way, but I know that it's the only way to keep up with today's society, the only way to keep up with my ever increasing list of demands on my life, and the only way to keep up with my dreams; I've got to keep on keeping on.

'Your life does not get better by chance.  It gets better by change' - Jim Rohn.

Everyone changes and adapts differently and at different paces. However, I believe from the offset you already know the basics of what you want out of life, they might not be concrete plans or definitive decisions but you have a fair understanding of where you want your life to lead to and how you want yourself to behave and react to your surroundings and change. From a young age we have dreams, dreams of being a singer, an actor, a police officer or even an astronaut but as we grow older we're faced with a lot of 'as ifs' and 'you can'ts' from both our own inferior thoughts and those of the people around us. It's your fears and other people's opinions that sometimes allow your dreams and your passions to become attached to negativity and attached to that I can't mentality and therefore put on the back-burner. Thus leaving you, current day you, feeling stuck in a rut and deflated. You begin to settle, think 'is this it?' or 'I'll be fine with this for now' and that manifests into working simply for the money or staying in a relationship simply because you don't want to be 'alone'. In hindsight though, we need to push ourselves passed this way of thinking and tell ourselves that we are just like those people already in the positions we dream of for ourselves, those people who appear to be more independent or are in the job we've always wished to have, so if they can do it then why can't we?  If we truly believe we can be what we dream to be then who is to say we can't at least try to get there? Same goes for hobbies we want to take up, goals we want to accomplish or new ways of thinking, there's always going to be someone out there who has already done it, someone to learn from and someone to follow the example of. This is something people fail to realise as they are too busy competing or comparing to see the advantages.

'Don't copy, compete with or compare yourself to others.  Their path is not your path, nor should it be.  Everyone has a unique gift to offer. What is yours?' - Mary Frances Winters.

Now as much as it is great to learn from others and gain mentors of people who are already in the field or area you wish to succeed in, it becomes so easy for that learning to change to envy and negativity if your own goals aren't materialising just as quickly as someone else's.  That doesn't necessarily mean you're not capable and equipped to do the same thing it just might be that what you have to offer or the skills and knowledge you currently have might be allowing you to look at certain aspects in a different light or might be making you take a little longer to fully invest in the idea.  What you need to realise is that other people are there for help but not for comparison, it's your attitude towards this that matters.  As you continue on with life you keep your own basic personality traits as you go, the quirks that make you 'you', but they too continue to be built upon and adapted to create the 'you' you currently face in the mirror each day. The you that only you can judge, only you can change and only you can tell that you're good enough.  They say you can do anything you put your mind to and I fully believe that's true.

'Learn from the Past. Prepare for the Future. Live in the Present' - Thomas S. Monson.

I wrote before about time as a concept and I briefly covered the three main aspects of how time can have an affect but I failed to fully mention how significant these three parts can truly be to your life or to the ever growing 'you' and how important it is to utilise each in order to fully improve. I want to do that now, using my life as my basis for analysis.  I'm using an 'After All This Time' format - looking at each consecutive part and the possible movements within each and deciding how each affected my outlook on life and the choices I've made then, now and how I would like them to be looked at in the future after a significant amount of time passing.  So I guess here's my past, present and future.


'Until you heal the wounds of your past, you are going to bleed. You can bandage the bleeding with food, with alcohol, with drugs, with work, with cigarettes, with sex; but eventually, it will all ooze through and stain your life.  You must find the strength to open the wounds, stick your hands inside, pull out the core of the pain that is holding you in your past, the memories and make peace with them' - Iyania Vanzant.

When it comes to looking at the past you have the 2 R's, Reminisce and Regret.  You look back to remember good memories and bad memories to think of the things you could have done differently or should have done differently; the people who are no longer in your life any more whether through choice or not through choice and on the other end of the spectrum there's the great memories you made with your friends or family that you love to look back on.  Most of the time though, your thoughts on the Past seem to consist wholly of Regret, 'Why didn't I do that?', 'Why didn't I say that?' or 'My life was so much simpler then!' moments; I know, I have many.  Looking at the Past this way can be extremely scary, you realise a lot of time has passed you by and some of the goals you set yourself or the way you thought your life would turn out at a certain age haven't materialised and you begin to panic, you begin to use your Present as a bridge, a bridge that's rickety on one end and burning on the other.  You're looking back at what could have been burning away day by day and too scared to take a step in the opposite direction through fear of breaking; so, you stay put watching everything go on around you.

When I think of the Past I think of the following:

After all this time I still think about how much easier school life was.
After all this time I think of the good memories I made with people no longer in my life any more.
After all this time I think about all the places I've been and how much I want to visit them again.
After all this time I'm thankful for the things I've been able to see and the people I've been able to meet.

After all this time I'm not in the job that I want.
After all this time I still haven't joined the gym.
After all this time I can't get over him.
After all this time I fear being judged.
After all this time I've built up an invisible wall of protection.
After all this time I feel like I should have utilised my school/university life more.
After all this time I've had plenty of times where I could have given myself the opportunity to commit to my writing and rid my fear of letting others read my work.

'Don't ignore the past, but deal with it, on your own pace. Once you deal with it, you are free of it; and you are free to embrace your life and be a happy loving person because if you don't, the past will come back to haunt you and keep coming back to haunt you' - Boris Kodjoe.

Now these things are not necessarily things that are still 100% relevant to my life in the Present, but they're still things I look back on and regret or reminisce about and think about how I could have done things differently. They're things that I need to decide the level of importance of, are they still things I want to do now or are they just things I've regretted for so long that they've now become a part of me and my sometimes negative way of thinking? I need to learn what's truly important and take that experience with me as I go as a learning experience and not a continuous problem but some of these I've still left for so long that they have become Present problems.

'You have to decide whether you're going to let your past destroy you or whether you're going to let it build you into the strongest person you've ever met' - Sonya Parker.


'Realise deeply that the Present moment is all you ever have' - Eckhart Tolle.

When it comes to looking at the present you have the 2 P's, Problems and Progression.  You have the current problems you face day to day in your life that you feel need changing or feel you can't get away from and then you have the progression, the things you're currently working on, the relationships you're currently building and the life you're currently leading.

When I think of the Present I think of the following:

After all this time I possibly do love him.
After all this time I'm still living at home when I'm ready to move out.
After all this time I'm still in a job where I'm over skilled.
After all this time I'm still not pushing myself to pass my driving test.
After all this time I still find it difficult to tell people how I feel.
After all this time I still haven't joined a gym.
After all this time I still have bouts of social anxiety.
After all this time I still feel like I need to seek permission before I do anything for me - e.g. post a blog post.

After all this time I've only just started to tell people about and publish my writing.
After all this time I've only just started to fully focus on my goals.
After all this time I have friends who I can spend five hours that feel like five minutes with. 
After all this time I'm finally learning that I can be confident without alcohol.
After all this time I've been working out at home.

'Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most' - Jack Kornfield.

I've changed my present a LOT in the past four months. I think something finally clicked in me to change.  I realised I'd been procrastinating my life away waiting for someone to pick me up, show me where to go and direct my life for me, but no one was coming.  I had so many goals and so much I wanted to achieve but I never took note or wrote anything down so it dwindled away and was forgotten about; left behind in a heap of self pity and fear.  The lists above only cover a minor amount of the things I  am currently focusing on and trying to change, the list is ever growing and I'm happy about that; I just need to make sure that the Problems list is decreasing as much as the Progression list is increasing.

'The Future depends on what we do in the Present' - Mahatma Ghandi.


'The best way to predict your Future is to create it' - Abraham Lincoln.

When it comes to looking at the future you have the 2 T's, Trepidation and Thirst.  You look to the future and fear what could be or what could happen but also yearn for a new you or a new path to open up at some point.  Both of which only you can conquer and create.

When I think of the Future I think of the following:

After all this time I fear losing the people I love.
After all this time I fear death.
After all this time I fear I'll never fully complete my life goals.
After all this time I need to tell him how I feel or move on.
After all this time I fear I'll never find love.

After all this time I'm learning to live with no regrets.
After all this time I'm learning to get over my fears and just go for it.
After all this time I'm learning that my comfort zone is a non moving forward zone that I should get out of as much as possible.
After all this time I finally have a place I can call my own.
After all this time I can finally say I'm happy with my career choices.
After all this time I finally believe in myself and am living my dream life. 

'Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything' - George Bernard Shaw.

You look at the Past experiences as a basis for learning, you use them to compare yourself with your Present circumstances to see whether the things you Regret are still occurring in your day to day life, if so, why?  Only you can answer that.  Then it's up to you to change the Future, create a list of possibility, a list that combines the Past and the Present 'After All This Time's' to create a Future you can be proud of.   There are always going to be elements to the Future that you fear and in some cases these are unavoidable but it's most definitely about using these as ammunition to focus on the Now, to focus on making time for those people in your life that you love, to take up the hobbies that you've always wanted to do but doubted you'd have the time or be able to do them.  It's about building on what you've got now and pushing to solve the current problems in order to create the Future you've always yearned for.

'The Future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams' - Eleanor Roosevelt.


'If you are depressed, you are living in the Past. If you are anxious, you are living in the Future. If you are at peace, you are living in the Present' - Lao Tzu. 

So you've thought about your Past and you're thinking of all the things you want to change, you're then hoping for the Future to do things differently - all you've got is Now and it's up to you to make it count. Learn from your 2 R's, Live with your 2 P's, and Prepare using your 2 T's - Repeat. Only you know how you can change things or what you can do to rid yourself of the current Problems you're facing in life. I'm really beginning to realise that life is all about growth. It's about learning that some things take longer than others to move on from. It's about learning that putting things off will only bring negativity in the long run, just do it now. It's about learning that you shouldn't care about what others think about you and should live your life for you. It's about learning that the most important person to rely on in every aspect of your life is yourself - your family, your friends, your colleagues, your partner are all a part of your daily life and are a part of your support system but they're not a crutch - it's down to you to succeed and it's down to you to live a life you know you're capable of.  It's down to you to figure out how to use your past experiences as a learning experience to ensure you're living in the now and not still stuck in the past to allow yourself to create a better future. There may be obstacles along the way sure, and of course everyone's life path is different but we all have dreams right? We all have goals, however small and only we can make them a reality.

'Who controls the Past controls the Future. Who controls the Present controls the Past' - George Orwell.