While on my morning commute I walked past a Jeep with a license plate brace that said “Keep On Target”. My first thought was of Star Wars and the attack on the first Death Star. It made me smile as the movie started playing out in my head. However, my second thought was “you drive where you are looking at”.
Now this thought gave me a pause.
My mother and father have both told me this when I first began to drive. My driver’s ed teacher and instructor both told me the same thing. Wherever you look on the road, that is where you are going to drive.
This same logic can be applied to life. If you look towards success, that is where you are going to drive towards. The same with interests. If you like sports and you look at sports, that is where go to. Poetry, art, engineering, or chemistry. If you focus your attention there, your mind and body will head towards that direction.
By the same token, you can drive yourself towards some bad things. Hatred. Lust. Envy. Self-pity. If you keep “looking” at those kinds of things, that is where you will end up.
Recently I have been thinking about all the mistakes I have made and people I let down over my life. Of promises broken and disappointing choices. Of people I hurt. But where is my focus? In the past. And the only thing that happens when you drive towards the past is looping in a circle. You cannot go forward when you are driving in a circle.
Letting go of the past is not easy. Some of my memories still carry weight and power. The sting of regret or that pang of hurt is still fresh. I am slowly learning to let them go. To remember the lesson but not letting that moment hold me. In some cases you may have to forgive someone. Not necessarily telling them but letting go of that hurt. In some cases you may have to ask for forgiveness. No matter how awkward or painful that admission will be.
And in some cases, you will have to forgive yourself.
Driving forward is not forgetting your past. It is not avoiding the consequences of your past. It is not letting yourself stay in the past.