As the move to the new apartment gets closer and closer, I am thinking about how often we look backwards in time throughout our lives. We seem to be obsessed with regrets over decisions already made, things already done, and events we have already lived. I am deliberately trying to avoid that as this milestone approaches.
I suppose that the temptation is always there to look back. After all, we can judge our actions against updated knowledge and either console or congratulate ourselves. But this is the easy way out of things. I believe that the real challenge that will keep us focused is to look ahead towards the future. It is that child-like sense of wonder about the future that spurs our development as children and adolescents in our rush to become adults. When we reach the adult stage, we instantly begin looking back with nostalgia and tend to sugar-coat the experiences that we had when we were younger. All of the hurts and disappointments seem easier to handle with the passage of time, but the harm comes not from the setbacks, but from the hesitance to take on new risks and challenges as we grow older.
I find myself marveling at achieving the dubious distinction of reaching my 50th year. I never though of what life would be like, or should be like when I reached this age. I would hear all the adults talking about the responsibilities of being a grownup, and how life seemed to always be against them. I have always avoided that outlook and instead focused on keeping a young mind, one that is open to new possibilities and adventures. While I am far from Adonis, people tell me that they would never guess my real age. I suppose that the search for challenges and meaning does have something to do with keeping me looking young.
The creeping sense of mortality is something that we will always have to face. It is never easy realizing that there is more of your life behind you rather than ahead of you. Make what is left count for as much as possible!