I just read an excellent story by The Angry Therapist about dreaming the future and then letting it go. The same is true for the past, especially when we get older and there is so much of it!
I’ve purposely cultivated some interesting memories. They are great fun to visit as a sort of mini-vacation. But I don’t want to live there. And not living there is the secret of staying “young.”
As for the not so fun memories, visit them, with a therapist if necessary (full disclosure: I am a therapist), heal them and release them. They are your story. They are not you.
They can’t be you, because you are right here, right now. A collection of memories, and dreams for the future, but so much more. Be the current you, and enhance that by being open to new thoughts, ideas, and experiences. Try something you have always wanted to try but were too afraid or busy or responsible or whatever. Try something it never occurred to you to try before, just for the hell of it. In the last five years I moved to a new city, started dancing again, adding Bachata and Mambo to the Salsa I already do. I became a Screenwriter by accident. (There’s a Medium post about that). I edit other’s screenplays, have written a stand-up comedy routine (yet to be performed), and started blogging. I’ve added Life Guide, Career Strategist, and Advocate to the skills I offer clients. See newchoicesguide.com. There’s more, but you get the idea.
Stay at least minimally current with technology. We hold the world in the palm of our hands in the form of “phones” which are actually the tiniest computers. Talk with Millennials. They are quite interesting and have self confidence we only dreamed of. Let them teach you, respect their thoughts and ideas, and they will gladly listen to you.
Practice mindfulness. In Aikido, the Martial Art I trained in, we say, “Expect nothing. Be ready for anything.” You can’t do that while dwelling in the past or planning the future. You do it by being totally aware in the here and now, with all the opportunities for surprise that involves.