You Can't Go Back but You Can Get Better (Untucked Column #1)
I have never really liked change. Ever since I was a little kid I’ve struggled with it. I would LOVE to tell you that as an adult that I have fully embraced the unknown or even welcomed it with open arms, but I would be lying to you. I tend to gravitate to who and what I know. This is all fine and good until who and what you know are no longer there.
Imagine that scene in a movie or tv show — a character is coming home. They’ve been away for a bit — whether self-imposed, on a journey, mission, or just needed time away — and the time comes for them to return. They believe that they are coming back to familiarity, comfort, home. Yet, upon arriving - the faces look familiar but everything has changed. There is a sense of shock to the system. It wasn’t supposed to be this way.
Now imagine, this character is you. You were looking forward to coming back and seeing everyone but you soon realized that home had changed and things were never going to be the same. You feel lost. Confused. Angry. Sad. All the emotions rushing in like a flood. Perhaps you even feel betrayed. How dare they move on? How dare they not consult me? What is going on?
Then, you're at a crossroads. What do you do now and where do you go from here? You can keep walking through what was once familiar and WISH that things were the same. You can keep trying to recreate scenarios that once brought about joy and made you smile only to feel disappointed. OR, you can acknowledge the most important piece of it all — recognize that YOU have changed as well.
When recovering from difficult things — whether it be heartbreak, loss, or any traumatic experience — don’t keep trying to find your old self. The old you does not exist anymore — look for the new and improved version of you. The people that were there for you, may no longer play a part in this next season of your life. It does not make them bad people. It does not mean that anyone did anything wrong. It could mean that their season in your life has been fulfilled and yours in theirs. Some people come in your life to get you to your next destination — they did not come to stay, they came to leave. You have to love them when they come and love them when they go.
This type of growth can be incredibly uncomfortable. Why? You’ve never been here before. It’s new. It’s scary. It’s the unknown. This version of you has never existed. However, every single experience of your life that has brought you to this point can be used as an important lesson and guide.
When you’re in the middle of the struggle, it’s nearly impossible to see the big picture, to see the why in all the hurt, the pain, the change. If we will challenge ourselves to stop trying to create new versions from old connections, we free ourselves to embrace the next season that awaits.
Consider you’re in your vehicle - or your dream car! Consider the size difference between your windshield and your rear view mirror. The windshield is substantially larger because the focus is to be on what is in front of you and where you are going. The rearview mirror is small because it is simply to be a point of reference, not your focal point. Imagine what our roads and highways would look like if you drove looking in the rearview mirror. Life is much of the same. Wherever you focus your attention the most, will become the driving force in your life. You steer where you stare.
If you believe that your best days are behind you, its going to be difficult to face the days . However, if you process the pain, accept that it happened, and decide to be better and not bitter, you will come to hope again and realize that your best days lie before you.
The past six years (especially) of my life have been filled with change, unexpected twists, opportunities, disappointments, hopes, and failures. I have had many instances where I could not make sense of what was happening in my world and often sought comfort in the familiar, only to find that the familiar had changed. I told myself repeatedly: “Fight to get back!” It was only recently that I came to the realization that “back” no longer exists because the scenarios, the environment, the dynamics have changed. I have changed. What does exist is now, what is to come, and what I will do with these experiences as this new season of life awaits!
Steve Sauceda is the host & producer of the radio show and Podcast: “Untucked with Steve Sauceda”
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