Dear Person with a “Past,”
About your past, I mean. Oh…right, there are people that care. Maybe they shouldn’t. I want to let you in on a little-known secret. Everybody who is anybody has a past. I’ve got a past and you’ve got a past and he’s got a past and she’s got a past and that dog at the dog park has a past. That’s not the kind of past we’re talking about, though, is it? No, we’re referring to that insidious, lingering, scare-quotes worthy term, “past,” aren’t we?
“Past” as in time gone by that one or more people won’t allow you to let go.
It’s interesting how much we despise being constantly attached to a “past” in a never-ending way, yet… we do the same to others. Or we have, in the past. The regular past. The past that is just a past. You know, the past past.
What else is interesting is that the nature of a “past” is that it no longer exists. It literally no longer exists. Unless you’re Marty McFly or Doc Brown and you’ve hit 88 miles-per-hour and you’re seeing some serious s**t, you’re literally never going to touch that moment or those moments that no longer exist ever again. If you can’t literally touch it, it seems like other people should keep their figurative hands the heck off of it, right?
Yet, we don’t. And sometimes, you don’t either. We’re all guilty of contributing to the number of people walking around that have a “past.”
Today, though, I want to acknowledge to you that we shouldn’t care—I shouldn’t care. I can’t promise people are going to let you stop having a “past” today, tomorrow, or ever, but I can tell you right now that you shouldn’t have a “past” if you’re not consistently re-creating your past today, in the present. You shouldn’t have to live every day being reminded of something that no longer exists. You shouldn’t have to prove yourself every minute of every day, especially if you’ve already proven yourself. You should just live a life where you have a past, like everyone else who has never made a mistake has a past. Wait, what? “Everyone else who has never made a mistake” meaning…no one, I guess. Hmmm, imagine that.
You’re probably tired. You’re probably tired from the exhaustion that is proving yourself on the daily, living down a “past” that should just be a past but can’t seem to get there. So I don’t know how much this letter can help. But I can acknowledge you, at least for this moment, and say this: it shouldn’t be this way if your “past” doesn’t match your present. It really shouldn’t be this way at all.
I know you’re tired, but please keep growing. From one person with a “past” to another, I think I understand that growing hurts a significant amount more when you’re doing it while others continue to assign a “past” to you.
I hope you get past this, eventually.