Looking Back to Move Forward

Hi, I am glad you visited me on this last blog of 2010.  With just a couple of more blinks of the eye 2011 will be here and 2010 history.

This is always an interesting time of the year for me.  Typically when New Year’s Eve approaches I become somewhat retrospective.  There are milestone points in life that, for me, force my thoughts to bigger, deeper things and the end and start of a year is one of those times.

What happens at this milestone is I reflect on the year coming to an end and then try to rate it in comparison to past years.  I don’t know why I do it, I just do.  I don’t think I am too different than most folks. 

Assessing this year was very easy.  2010 was a very good year.  It will go down as one of the better, more memorable and eventful years of my life. 

Side Note:  Just so you know, 2003 that went down as one of the worst years of my life.  It was an awful year.  I could not wait for it to end… it was a black year.


Sometimes people can’t wait for a year to end and others want it to hang on for a while.  But the reality is… TIME waits for no one.  We are all equal when it comes to time.  We can’t slow it down or speed it up. 

As you, I have experienced good years and bad.  I have come to find out that life is a good teacher… if we are open and willing to learn.

There are some things that I have learned that keeps this patchwork of years and life experiences in perspective.  I am sure you have some wonderful life learnings too but here are some things I think are important.

Learning One:  The most important reality to embrace is that life is not static… it ebbs and flows.  There are good days and bad days, and so on, making weeks, months, years and then seasons of life.

Learning Two:  The second reality that screams loudly is that life is a mix of things within our control and out of our control.  I can’t explain why things happen to certain people.  It just does.  Life happens. 

Beyond anyone’s control, crappy things happen to good people and visa versa.  I believe it is important to reflect on life issues to see what there is to learn but not… NOT to partake in the morbid dance of “what if”.

Learning Three:  This learning is different than the other two.  The first two are just facts that happen with or without our consent or control.

The number three reality is completely within our control.  It is the ability to choose how we respond to realities one and two. 

“Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.

                        – Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning


I believe more and more in the core of my being that how we choose to respond (NOT react) to the positives and negatives in life has a direct impact on the fullness and meaningfulness of our life. 

There is a big difference between Respond and React:  To me, Respond is a controlled action to the circumstances or situation at hand.  To React is to act without thought or control. 

My Definition of RESPONSIBILTIY:  The ability to respond… not react.

I have learned that, if things are good I am to embrace and enjoy them, but I do not own them.  I must hold the times that are good LOOSELY.   I cannot force good things forward.  I can do things to increase the odds but there are no magic formulas to guarantee good things.  Good things are gifts to be treasured and appreciated.

I find that the bad years are usually a result of a mix of bad choices within my control and bad circumstances beyond my control.  Once again, how I choose to respond becomes the central point.

The bad circumstances that are not because of poor decisions on my part are pretty easy for me to put in their proper place.  I realize that life ebbs and flows and I must take what comes and make the best of it.


The tough issue for me is when I am faced with those situations I am in because of my poor choices or outright bad decisions.  Like most people if feel I probably deserve the negative fallout and accept my self created punishment.

Yes, there are natural consequences to bad decisions or behavior.  I personally believe these consequences play an important role in our education of life.

            “Experience keeps you from making bad decisions; But most experience comes from making bad decisions.”         - Anonymous


“Live as if you were living a second time, and as though you had acted wrongly the first time.”
- Viktor E. Frankl


But there is a trap.  The trap where our past failures keep us anchored to the negative.  Oswald Chambers says, “Don’t let the past corrupt your future.”

I don’t know what kind of year you have had.  If it was good… enjoy and embrace it.  If it was bad… release it.  Let it go and choose to drop the chains of negative things that weigh you down.

2010 is a treasured year for me.  I don’t know what 2011 will be.  I hope and pray it will be as good as or better than last year.  I will do what I can to carry it forward… but ultimately, I must release it into bigger hands than mine.

This journey of life is a JOY.  Yes it has its very hard times… but I choose JOY.

See you next year… Monday.

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