Monday, April 17, 2017

Going Forward

Even though I've done this quite a few times over the years, it doesn't get any easier to move forward after radical changes in one's life. But it has to be done. I know that looking backward is not productive, and I also know that life does not stand still and a dozen other things other than the changes that have occurred still have their claim on my life and energy. This is why I am up at 5:30 on a Monday; my job does not stand still because my brother is ill and I am a bachelor again. There's a house to clean, a meeting to go to tonight, a dog that depends on me, a kid in the last few months of high school, family members that need me to pitch in and help in this time of crisis, groceries to buy. There is a tax form to mail, oil that needs to be changed, tires that need to be rotated if not replaced, sponsors and sponsees to meet with, more job-related stuff ahead. Life is a many-sided object, and because the face of one or two sides of that object changes or vanishes does not mean that the other sides can be ignored.
I know all this. And while I can't say it feels good to contemplate, it is good to have much else going on in my life. It keeps me from sitting in the house all day and night, thinking and rethinking and nursing resentments and turning events over and over in my mind. And as my sponsor is fond of saying, this, too, shall pass. It won't even be like a kidney stone; it's happened in stages over the years, and I've been prepared for this particular stage for at least a month now. And I know that a year from now, life will look very different. Whether better or worse is an open question, but it will look different.
And as much as it was in 1998, it will all take place one day at a time. It's the best-known and most-used slogan/cliche of recovery, and there's a reason for that. It's what we are capable to doing. I don't know how my brother's life is going to look like six months from now. I don't know whether there will be another relationship, with who, or when it will happen. I don't know what all the changes being proposed at my job are going to bring. I don't know what it's going to be like around here when Sabrina goes to college. I don't know what my own health is going to be like as I age. I don't know what the country, state, and county environments are going to be like in the future. And it's not productive to project, to be afraid, or to quit. What I can do is take care of what needs to be taken care of today, and in the near future and let the chips fall where they may. That much, I am capable of, and that's what I need to take care of on a daily basis.
It's not going to be easy, at times. But it is the only way to get through troubled times. And it is not productive to take steps backward. It's not helpful to worry about what other people are going to do, or to make their struggles yours. I have more than enough to keep me occupied. And looking backward would be about as productive for me as it was for Lot's wife (in another of those not-coincidental messages that are always present if your mind is open to them, The Big Bang Theory, of all things, drove that home yesterday, when Sheldon listed all the instances in mythology of people who were told to not look back--Orpheus, Perseus, Lot--and then said, "they always look. It never ends well."
Going forward may not end well, either. But it might. And looking backward is a sure way to make sure it isn't going to end well, or at the very least make it harder than it has to be going forward. So that's my goal today--keep it moving forward, and not look back. I'll figure out tomorrow's goal tomorrow.

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