Monday, July 28, 2014

The fine art of looking forward

While you challenge yourself to see as many sweater stripe variations in this handspun-in-progress as I did (hint: lots), I'm going to kick off a week full of feel-better tips.  Because who doesn't need a lift once in a while?

self-help, positive thinking

Today's topic:  the true importance of looking forward.

Those of us who are passionate about studying history know that Looking Back isn't the horror it's sometimes painted to be... that whole 'don't let yourself get so wistful for what was and what you've lost that you don't move forward' thing we get warned about.  Knowing your history - whether it's about the world, cultural shifts, specific major events, or just the childhoods your parents lived through - is valuable not only so you don't repeat it, but also because there's some good stuff in there you will want to repeat.

I mean, look at all of us crazy people knitting and weaving and sewing and spinning and crocheting when we can just buy stuff ready made in less time, for less money.  We know from looking back and experimenting ourselves that there's value in there beyond the material good that results from it.

But looking forward is really important too.  And just like looking back isn't all bad, looking forward offers a lot more than a laser-sharp focus on making progress toward our goals.

It's important to look forward because it's the most obvious way to realize how fantastic things are for you today.

For example: got older friends or relatives whose company you enjoy and wish you could spend more time with?  Take a look twenty or thirty years ahead for a wakeup call on why you don't want to put that off in favour of TV or a few extra hours at work.  Your future self will thank you for banking all those great experiences and conversations.

Similarly: got young people in your life who are cute and funny and bright and capable of exploring the endless potential of a pile of wood chips?  Spend time with them now, before they grow out of it.  You'll bank more great memories and benefit from the restful pursuit of the possibilities of wood chips.

Annoyed about the shape your body or skin or hair is in compared to twenty years ago?  I say this with a caution not to feel bad or depressed about this but - imagine how you're going to feel about what you've got today when you're 80 and walking presents a bit more of a challenge, and blood tests are a constant adventure in Finding A Vein.  (this foreknowledge can be easily reinforced by spending time with older people, as mentioned above, especially after a checkup when they are sporting the largest and most colourful bruises you've ever seen.) 

Seriously folks.  In a year or two you may indeed wake up having lost some weight or built some muscle or repaired that tendon, but there is still going to be cause in the future to envy your condition today, just as you do now the condition you were in before.  So celebrate it!

Once you develop the habit of looking forward - not at what you hope to have in your life then, but at the things you have now - you're sure to find a lot more reasons to make the most of today.  And who knows?  If you do that with joy, you may well find yourself taking things into the coming years that will make them absolutely fabulous.

And in between episodes of looking forward, be sure to enjoy today!  I'll see you tomorrow with more ideas to ramp up the Yay! in your life.

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