"There is no past that we can bring back by longing for it, only a present that builds and creates itself as the past withdraws." --The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
I know the first part of this quote is true--I can't bring back the days when my children were still at home, when my dad was still alive, or when Steve didn't have prostate cancer, no matter how much I long for them. And I know that longing for something that can never be is more than just an exercise in futility, it can actually be destructive in that it wastes a lot of emotional energy and hampers you from being present in the present. So this brings me to the intriguing second part of the quote. I'm afraid I have been making the mistake of thinking that what I should be doing is gathering up what is left and making the best of things. But that's not at all what this quote is saying--instead, it is suggesting that if we allow the past to be the past and stop tugging it forward with our longings, then the present is free to grow in ways that might surprise us. Maybe there is something new and important for us to do or be in our fifties or sixties or seventies that we weren't ready for when we were in our twenties or thirties or forties. I know it's just a line from a movie, but it feels true to me. Plus, I want it to be true. So I'm going to hold onto to this hopeful bit of advice and see what happens!