Senior Writers’ Group January Selection

January’s theme for the Holliston Senior Writers’ was “Looking Forward.”  Here is their selected piece for sharing with the wider Holliston community, written by Dianne Nault. 

I have often repeated some version of this quote, even though I cannot tell you who wrote these words or where I first read them:  “The reason our cars have a big windshield and a small rear view mirror is because we are meant to be looking forward, not backwards.”

With that in mind, I really try not to dwell on the past or to try to rethink what decisions I have made.  That is not to say that I have no regrets. But regret is an acid that wears away the soul, and I think revisiting our mistakes in judgment does nothing but make us sadder.  The past cannot be changed, no matter how much we may desire it, and it is better to move on to another day with a clear head and a fresh start. 

For every time I could say, “If only I had not done that…” there is an equal time when I could say, “If only I had done this…”  Starting to rethink our actions only leads us down and dark and depressing tunnel filled with words like woulda, coulda, shoulda

Our vision becomes focused too much on the end result of our actions and not on what we learned along the way.  So even when the consequences of our actions are regrettable, even disastrous, we can take that knowledge forward to modify future decisions.

As a parent, grandparent, and former teacher, there is no denying that making mistakes is often the best way to learn.  Parents who hover over their children too much deny them a chance to experience the consequences of their actions, their words, or their decisions.  Keeping them safe from harm or real danger is not the sme thing as never allowing them to experience failure, disappointment, even defeat. 

I have never been a fan of “everyone gets a trophy” philosophy.  To become more resilient, children need to fall down sometimes and to feel the power of getting back up and of moving forward.

While I always wished my children would have a happy childhood, I knew I could not protect them from everything or from the harsh consequence of their misguided actions.  Now as adults, they are independent and resourceful, and they are masters of their own fates.

So remember: “The reason a car’s windshield is so large and the rearview mirror is so small is because our past is not as important as our future.”  Look ahead; try to avoid the hazards in your path, but keep moving forward!

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