Late Sunday night, I had the old Beatles song “Yesterday” on my mind because it came up in discussion yesterday. As the lyrics floated through my mind, I found myself realizing — almost with surprise — that I can’t identify with the song’s longing for something better from the past.
I’m not exactly happy with where I am now. There are certainly periods in the past when I had it better — felt more love and had more money. All of that is true.
But I long for the future, not for yesterday.
I believe in tomorrow being what I’ve been looking for. I believe that the best days lie ahead of me. I believe there’s love waiting for me. I believe there is success beyond what I’ve dared to dream. And I think it’s a good thing that those better times are in the future, not in the past.
Yesterday is dead.
I’m focused today on the things I need to do to make tomorrow what I want it to be.
My life didn’t go the way I had it drawn up when I was a teenager or when I was in college or even as I envisioned it by the time I was 30. If I judged myself by the standards of those plans, I would see myself as a failure.
But I’m not the same person I was back then. What’s more, I don’t want what I wanted back then.
I understand love in a very different way than I did back then. I can’t even explain that, but what I experience in love today is something deeper and more meaningful to me. I’m attracted to someone far more interesting and complex today than I was back then.
My goals for myself are very different. I don’t want the things that once seemed so important. I see the world in entirely different ways. I care less and less about what other people think of me — or what they think I ought to do with my life.
I know people who are fixated on something from the past — and they’re miserable. Those people tend to see some particular time in their lives as their high point, and their egos desperately want to recapture some of that magic. They’re like the stereotypical guy who lives in the past as a sports hero. They see that time in their lives as their best — because it fed their egos — and all they want is to recapture that ego satisfaction.
I love some things in my past. I appreciate some people who have been in my life, even if they’ve moved on. I appreciate some of the work I’ve done in the past and some of the glories I’ve experienced from that work.
But all of that is dead.
The future is vivid to me. Future achievements are alive, because they can start today. Future love and family are alive, because they can start any time, when I least expect them to come along.
“Yesterday” is a really nice song, but the future is where I’m going instead. Things are better there. I hope you’ll come along, too. We can make the future whatever we want it to be.