Don’t wallow, don’t dread,

Just take each moment as it comes.

Examining my attitudes a few days ago, I recognised two opposite forces at play. Either, I’m looking at my past self and feeling sad at its disappearance, or, I’m looking ahead, filled with dread about the things coming up that I know my future self can no longer do.

Backwards and forwards are both hard for me to think about.

When I saw a photo of me carrying my then toddler in his baby carrier I wondered how on earth I had managed it. These days most photos of me are either seated or with trekking poles. Standing strong with a baby on my shoulders is an image that prompts a deal of wallowing.

Equally, because of all those times when I’ve failed, I don’t feel excited about future events any more, just worried it will be yet another memory of me hiding in the car while the others stride on without me.

Boo hoo. That’s enough gloom! What do we do when we’re caught up in the pull of wallow and dread?

We set up camp in the blessed present and ban all those black feelings from getting in. Rather than looking back and mourning the past, look at that memory and see how happy you were. Rather than expecting the next outing to go wrong, plan it carefully so that it is bound to be a success.

I’m fed up squandering precious energy hankering after the past or worrying about the future. So your past self is gone, but have you ever considered that who you are now is better? The girl carrying the baby was most likely complaining about how heavy he was. That baby is now a tall thirteen year old who could probably carry me!

The past has turned into a present that is full of good things. I forgot that. Even yesterday, the baby from the photo marched out, took over hoovering the car and sent me in to sit down. Would he have shown kindness if I was always able to do everything myself? Would my quiet daughter have the space to tell me about her day if I wasn’t sitting on the sofa waiting for her to talk?

I would encourage you to turn away from the golden days that were and the dark ones you fear will come. Just take a seat and count on your fingers all the things that are good about this present time. I know that’s a big challenge right now, but it’s still possible, I promise!

Are you ready? Let’s start…

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