Last night, I had a dream that I was going backwards in time. Back to old places, old relationships, old states of mind, none of which were necessarily good for me. Halfway through the dream, I realized that I didn’t want any of it. I didn’t want to go backwards. I’m happy with the way my life is going. I want to keep moving forward (Meet the Robinsons, anyone?). To quote one of my favorite bands ever, “I’ve got my heart set on what happens next” (Switchfoot). I want a career. I want to keep finding my way in this world. Going backwards is the last thing I want to do.
That being said, just because I don’t want to relive my past, it doesn’t mean I can’t look back on it every once in a while. In fact, sometimes I think it gives me the confidence I need to keep going.
A few years back, there was a time I felt I had absolutely no say over what happened in my life. I felt trapped. I felt anchored. I felt like I had to follow this one path that everyone else thought was right for me. I reached the point where I was so depressed and feeling like I had no control that I cut all my hair off.
You read that right. I grabbed a pair of scissors, I stood in front of the mirror, and I hacked off my long, curly hair. Right up to the shoulder.
It was a time in my life I never want to relive, but I’m surprised to say that looking back on it now fills me with hope. I learned a lot about myself during that time. I learned that I love photography. I learned that maybe the things that make other people happy don’t necessarily make me happy. Most importantly, I learned that I’m brave enough to make changes. I found myself in a situation where I was not happy. In fact, I was the polar opposite of happy. I’m so proud of the fact that not only was I able to recognize it, but that I was able to tell myself that I deserved to be happy.
It was hard, but I know I’m better for it. I’ve never once regretted any of the decisions I made. And I know, I’m being terribly vague, but I don’t want to project my own experiences out there just in case someone reading this can relate to it. I also don’t want to go into details out of respect for those involved in my life at that time. They might not have even realized what I was going through at the time.
That’s why, from time to time, I do look back. I see the person I was back then and it makes me appreciate the person I am now. Best of all, it makes me proud of who I am now. I’m hoping that I’m not done learning or growing. I hope that the best is yet to come. And I think it is.