Fulfilling Your Dreams
Rules For Life – No ‘Backsies’
Welcome back to my continuing series of Rules For Life.
Last month, I wrote about life’s perpetual and inescapable move forward. Once you’re born, there’s no turning around. This month, I’d like to discuss the flip side of that.
You ever have one of those days you wish you could take back? Either everything seems to go wrong or, worse, you were the problem. You simply didn’t do your best. You think to yourself, “If I could go back in time just a few hours, I would do that very differently.”
I know I’ve felt that way. I’m writing this on December 26th and, just yesterday morning, I spent Christmas with my in-laws. I can’t say it was the best Christmas and I can’t say it was entirely the fault of my in-laws or of a capricious universe. No, I’m pretty sure I was to blame for much of the awkwardness that existed, where usually we’re pretty close. You see, I’m a particularly opinionated individual – big surprise – and my big mouth created more tension than anyone deserved at that family gathering. Things were especially cool between me and my brother-in-law, who was hosting Christmas morning at his house.
I would have paid good money to step into a conveniently placed time machine, believe me.
But, as the title of this article proclaims, there are No Backsies. As life moves only forward, we are all left to live each moment knowing we won’t get another chance. To do otherwise is to court the worst kind of disaster. Let’s look at a few examples and I think you’ll see my point.
You might know someone who believes in “backsies,” who believes the act of forgiveness wipes their slate clean of all mistakes – but I’m afraid that’s not so. We humans might not have great memories but it’s great for holding a grudge. Relying on other people’s forgiveness, rather than living accountable in the now, will eventually reveal you as selfish and uncaring, and there’s no going back from that.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are those who refuse to forgive no matter how sincere the apology. This just casts that person refusing to forgive in the role of selfish and uncaring because, at some point, we need to acknowledge when someone is sincerely trying to make amends. Those who refuse to forgive are, too often, living in the past, remembering the faults of those in the past. Those who rely too much on forgiveness are, too often, living in the future and assuming things will be just fine in the future.
Living in the present is a tightrope act. It takes practice and it ain’t easy. But when we fail to be present now, when we choose to focus on a past that no longer exists or a future that may never come, we miss out on the life that we have. As much as we might ignore it, that life happens only seconds at a time – even a day is too long a measurement as a mistake made in the morning can often haunt us as we attempt to go to sleep at night.
No Backsies means being present, being self-aware, owning who you are and holding yourself responsible for who you are – and, quite often, changing who you are.
And that brings me back to one particularly opinionated individual: myself. It would have been disingenuous for me to apologize for my opinion but moving forward with our relationship would have been a lot more difficult were I not to somehow break the ice. So, as my wife and I were heading out to our car as we readied to leave, I walked back to my brother-in-law, put out my hand to shake his and thanked him for his generosity in hosting the family gathering. I know it wasn’t much but I wanted him to know I appreciated him just the same.
There’s no backsies. We simply need to find ways of moving forward.
About the Author
Author and Playwright, Ken La Salle grew up in Santa Ana, California and has remained in the surrounding area his entire life. He was raised with strong, blue-collar roots, which have given him a progressive and environmentalist view. As a result, you’ll find many of his stories touching those areas both geographically and philosophically. His plays have been seen in theaters across the country and you can find a growing number of books available online. Find out more about Ken on his website at www.kenlasalle.com. Ken La Salle is represented by Loiacono Literary Agency , LLC.