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A Series Of Thoughts On Growing Up, Letting Go, And Moving On For Good

woman sitting on bed looking contemplative
God & Man

Sometimes all we want to do is bury ourselves in the past. It’s comfortable, easy. We hear a song on the radio that takes us back. We catch a glimpse of someone with the same profile as someone we once knew, even loved. Their name comes up in conversation randomly. We peek into their lives via social media. We realize we miss them, those times, all of the things that used to encompass us.

The past creeps up on us and it’s so easy to get caught up in that nostalgia. Easy to remember those sensations so vividly that you actually start to feel those endorphins flooding through your body all over again. You insert yourself back into the past, in your mind, with those old friends, lovers, enemies. You start to think what if, why, my fault. You start to believe that maybe things could have been different, that maybe they still could be. That perhaps it’s not too late to go back.

The truth is nostalgia is sneaky, that it lies. The truth is that you have to crane your neck back so far to see the past for a very good reason. The truth is the universe put all of that shit behind you so that you’d never be able to walk toward it again.

This is a part of growing up, the letting go. The moving on. This is why we grow upwards rather than down, lifting further from the ground instead of towards it. Life, growing up, it’s all about putting one foot in from of the other and walking toward the new things. It’s about keeping the past where it belongs, about leaving the bullshit, the pain, the heartache behind.

Growing up is even about taking responsibility for those parts of our pasts we ourselves sabotaged. The people we hurt and the wrongs we committed, unknowingly or not. It’s about examining those parts of ourselves, figuring out where we went wrong, how we can do better. It’s about bundling up those broken pieces and burying them in the ground. It’s walking away from that plot of unmarked land.

Growing up, moving on, and the like doesn’t mean we forget entirely. It just means we forgive. Ourselves and others. That we keep moving. It’s discovering that we often times look back at the past through rose-colored lenses. That we so often only allow ourselves to remember the happy times, the good feelings, in order to self-preserve. Because no one wants to be reminded of the times we were hurt of when things didn’t work out, the people we lost and never got back. And even as the years continue to pass, we still want to protect ourselves. We want the things that didn’t go as planned to have another chance.

But it’s so important to just let it go.

The past is behind you. It’s staying right where it’s always been. You can’t recreate it or mold it into something it was never meant to be. The future you’re traveling toward is so much more important than any past experience you’ve ever left behind. There is no promise in walking backward, no opportunity in what is already finished.

So do yourself a favor. Let go. Embrace the act of moving on. There will be growing pains in this, just as there are in everything else in this life. But they are only meant to prove that you are morphing into the being you were meant to become, in the life you were meant to leave. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

A writer of creative non-fiction who drinks copious amounts of coffee.

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