The Difference Between Dwelling On The Past And Learning From It

A memory is like sand. The harder you try to hold on to it, the faster it crumbles. It sticks to your eyes and your ears, and confuses your senses. You can scrub it away but it will linger. You’ll find remnants of it in your shoes long after you’ve left the beach. You won’t see it but you’ll feel it. It will meld to you, permeating through your skin, and into your blood stream. It will find a home in your heart.

A memory. It’s just sand, it’s just tired rock — a fragment of the original substance, a snapshot in a long and confusing movie, a particle of space and time. It’s minuscule, and insignificant, but it remains.

A memory. You can explain it to someone, but you can’t make them feel it. You can’t transport them to the edge of a ten story building and instruct them to feel calmly vacant. You can’t describe how your heart fires when a stranger looks right through you. You can’t recreate the overwhelming relief that rushes over you when you win after losing for so long.

A memory. It’s a particle of space and time, it’s a set of unanswered equations, it’s a cluster of emotions that can build you, or break you.

A memory. It will swallow you up if you let it. It will provide you with sustenance that is not sustainable. It’s like going on a fast, you feel satisfied at first, but you always end up starving.

A memory. You can use it as fuel. You can pretend that you’re bulletproof for a while. Words flow faster when you’re filled with rage, it’s easy to risk when you have nothing to lose, and there’s a certain high that comes from proving someone wrong — but you can’t move forwards when you’re looking backwards.

We all get frustrated when we romanticize the past. We miss the things we’ve lost, the places we’ve left, and the people we used to be. We miss the times that were familiar, and we long for the moments when we had our feet firmly planted on the ground. But you can’t live though memories, and you don’t grow by being comfortable.

You have to lose before you can win, you have to fail before you can dream, and you have to hurt before you can love. You must bleed for the wound to heal, but eventually you need to slap on a Band-Aid and get on with your life.

And that’s what I’m doing.

A memory:

I was drowning.

And then I learned how to swim. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

featured image – Luis Hernandez

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