Past reflections, future opportunities

Even if you don't buy into the concept of the new year as a new start, there is enough cultural communal energy that we are all launched forward, come January 1st. There’s a lot to look back on, both with fondness and regret. Whether you dig deep in the past or keep your sights only on recent history, there are opportunities to be found in those reflections.

This new year’s morning I was drawn to pull out an enormous box of old photos and spent what turned out to be the next few hours poring over long lost faces. Under the photographs lay the letters. These snapshots of intimacy and familiarity were so long gone they no longer felt like memories, but mysteries. Who were these people? What did we know about each other? Who was I?

Seeing myself as reflected in these decades-old portraits, I felt nostalgia for the relationships and experiences, but also for a past version of myself.  It was both moving and motivating. While there is loss, though, there is also opportunity. Opportunity to learn from the me of the past—abandoned practices to be reinstated, areas deserving of renewed optimism and energy to which I can tend.

What can your past tell you about how you want to go forward into the world? What parts of your life can you look to for lessons? And what actions can you take to make the resulting intentions part of your future?