Looking Back… Looking Forward

A few weeks ago I stood in front of my spice cabinet absently staring, trying to figure out what it was I was supposed to be doing???  I finally looked around my kitchen, saw that I was making pancakes and remembered that we were out of syrup and I would need to make some more.
I had made it to the spice cabinet for a reason, but then I had become distracted.  I did not know that I was searching for the maple flavoring until I looked back to where I had been and remembered my purpose.
This simple experience struck me  – although we should not live in the past, we need to understand where we have been to know where it is that we want to go.  Learning from mistakes, learning from others, learning from triumphs… we will know the path that we want to pursue in the future.

Looking back at Pismo Beach.
Here is the wall I was leaning
against with Lori and her friends
when I first saw Mark.  He
came to the beach to go skim boarding
with his brother, Mike.  Everyone
wanted us to meet.. only our eyes
met, but it was a good start!

I have not blogged for a month – the reason is that the idea of “looking back” is so huge.  I have thought of it almost every day and there is simply too much to say, I cannot seem to corral my thoughts and express them clearly.

Oh dear – I keep typing and deleting ideas… so I will keep it simple and with the one thing that has stood out to me.

I like to watch past episodes of “Who Do You Think You Are” while I walk on the treadmill.  I have only seen 10 or 15, but when I started to think of looking back, I started to notice statements that the celebrities make.  (This is a program sponsored by Ancestry.com in which they trace the roots of celebrities.)  They say things like, “This has really changed how I see things.”  “This will change the way I make decisions in the future.”

Looking back at Montano De Oro.  A
favorite spot during childhood and
during our courtship, it is great to be
able to share it with our children.

I know that when I learn a story about my ancestors, my life is changed.  It is hard to explain to anyone who hasn’t explored their family history, but for all that have – we comprehend that experience.   Last month I read some excerpts from Mark’s grandmother’s journal.  She was having a hard time and expressing her hurt and frustration.  I had known her story, but now I know her feelings.  I felt such love for her – and suddenly her life has impacted mine in a very real way.  I think that it comes from knowing about real people to whom we are connected, and knowing that they went through hard times but were still successful, were still loved.
…Well, I don’t know what it is, but there is a connection and it is real.

Looking back at surfing, most
of our dates involved surfing
so it was fun for Mark to
teach the kids.

So, looking forward….again, too big of a subject, but to go along with the distant past… look into the distant future.  What will I do and say in my life that will have a positive impact on my future grandchildren and great-grandchildren?  Obviously they will not use me as a famous ancestor in a report – but they will have this connection.  Am I living my life in a way that will have a positive impact for generations to come?  I may never do anything grand, but I can live every day to bless my posterity, and those in my present life will benefit as well.

A few other looking back moments:

Looking back in Paso Robles, I love
being on this road on Grandpa’s ranch
and thinking of all evening walks
with family during childhood.

Looking back on last night’s overpriced but tasteless dinner – I hope to never eat at that restaurant again.
Looking back on how it feels when I sleep long vs how I feel when I get up and get going… I will hope to get ignore the temptation to sleep in.
Looking back on fun family times, I will try to remember to not get over scheduled and make sure that family recreation is a top priority.
Looking back on past photo albums, I will try to remember to capture our fun moments in pictures.
Looking back into my past journals I see who I really am, I gain confidence in my abilities, my relationships, and my future.

Looking back at the beach – watching
the children play I know this could
have been me and my siblings.
Family traditions are important
at all levels of living.

Since I often need to write about cancer – I can definitely say that when Jackie was diagnosed with cancer last year… and with all of the tumor-related events that have followed… The only way that I knew to deal with it was to look back – I went to my old blog, to past journals and other things that I had written when we were dealing with Greg’s bone cancer.  I knew that I had learned lessons but I was in no state of mind to be able to recall them.  I was still feeling weak from that experience… how would I possibly deal with what was before me?  I was surprised that we had done well, and I remembered the formula for survival and success.

Looking back at Morro Bay – a trip home
to San Luis Obispo isn’t complete with
family photos taken on our dolphin.  This
year we were surprised that it had gotten
so small – or are we getting so big?  Time
flies – I hope that I remember to make the
most of it!

I am realizing that when I write, I am writing to my future self.  I am writing to my children.  I am writing to family-to-come.  My blog is about learning from life’s experiences.  Life happens, we make our decisions in how to deal with it, and time marches on.  We make good choices, we make bad choices… if we don’t look back and learn, how do we know what to do in our future?

(The photos are all from April 2015, Spring Break)

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