Wrong My Whole Life

The last time you learned some amazing new way of doing things – a new skill, maybe a new mindset, something – you might have said “holy cow, I’ve been doing this wrong my whole life!”

Look at the insidious way negativity tries to take over even your most joyous moments! You discover something that changes the trajectory of your whole future in a positive way, and the first thought is how it retroactively makes your past worse.

Okay, a quick aside. Imagine some genie offers you a bargain. The genie will rewrite the memories of your own past such that you are in chronic pain for every moment before the present. Nothing will actually be different – all the same stuff will have happened, including your own actions – but you’ll remember being in pain along with everything else. That change only applies to the past up to the moment of the bargain, and in exchange, all your future moments will be marked by an equivalent amount of joy on top of whatever else the moment would have produced naturally.

Let me tell you: that is a ridiculously good bargain, and I would take it in a heartbeat. Which is to say: even if I could make my past retroactively worse in exchange for increased future happiness, I would do so – because I’m already done with the past. Of course, no such bargain exists. Your past is immutable.

You weren’t doing something “wrong your whole life.” You were doing what you knew how to do in a universe where humans aren’t born omniscient. There are a million things that, if I had done them or learned them sooner in my life, would have made my current life better. So what? I didn’t know those things then, maybe I couldn’t even have learned them until I knew other things. Maybe there really was no way for my path to have shaken out except for the way it did. We’ll never know, so it’s not worth dwelling on.

Instead, take your joy! Look at the vast, uncountable days of your future and how they are now bending ever higher towards sublime inspiration with each new door you unlock, each new piece of wisdom you claim. No matter how dark the clouds of your past may be, do not let them darken you once you’ve left them! You have escaped their shadow into today and tomorrow, and no power on Earth can force you to carry their darkness with you unless you choose to.

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