I have a pile of VHS tapes living in a box on top of my closet. (Don't laugh, the tech you're enjoying now will be made fun of before you know it.) I decided to get them all digitized through a company a friend recommended. All the links came in today for me to download. I'm sitting here going down memory lane and feeling like I'm watching someone else's life. Friends I haven't seen in years, dance shows performed long ago, and wanting to know what happened to my flat belly.
The wonderful thing about watching old home movies is that they're of good times. Baby's first steps, birthday parties, and vacation trips are fun to relive. It's also bittersweet as I see loved ones that aren't with me anymore. I love seeing my mother's smile again, but there's an ache that reminds me of how much I miss her.
I find myself laughing out loud as I watch the toddler 'me' try to walk. I have a hoop skirt on, and it looks like a parachute that opens up every time I fall. My older brothers are encouraging me to keep trying. They're two to three years older than me, and they have the walking thing down. It's impressive the determination we have to keep getting up no matter how many times we fall. It doesn't even occur to us to quit. It does help to know others are there to help or at least laugh at our expense. Either way, it's nice to have the support.
It's funny watching my younger self. I always felt self-conscious, and yet, seeing myself with older eyes, I realize I wasn't as awkward as I thought. I do credit my feelings of inadequacy for motivating me to improve myself. It's easy to beat ourselves up, but we grow when we decide to put the work in. Self-improvement is a continuous process, and the feeling of being our best selves is worth the effort.
It feels a little surreal looking at another time and place that's a part of me but doesn't exist anymore. I don't believe in living in the past, but the past is always with me. It's with all of us. I don't buy into the idea of leaving our history behind. Yes, we should always be moving forward, but we should, at the same time, acknowledge how far we've come. Our experiences are our lessons, good and bad. We're the sum of all that we've been through and have come out stronger for it. As much as I want to change the things I regret, I know my life is better for meeting the challenges that came my way.
Try to look at your past with softer eyes. There are always going to be times when we land on our butts. It's how we handle the setbacks that make us grow stronger. It's not fun to fail, but some lessons aren't easy to learn until we do. We should have faith that when we need a helping hand, one will show up. We need each other and having the comfort of family and friends is what being grateful is all about. Our past events live within us, but it doesn't mean we have to dwell with them in the present. Our future holds endless possibilities of being better than ever before. We just have to remember to pack a parachute for ourselves and each other.