As my final semester comes to a close, I have been thinking over the inevitable question, “what’s next?” Obviously I have pretty solid plans in place for China and graduate school, so I’m not spending a whole lot of time thinking about actual plans for the future. Instead I’ve been pondering something much less concrete. Lot’s of questions. What’s next for me, personally? Who am I going to become? Will I change as much in the next four years as I have in the past four? Will they be changes for the better?
The only thing that is certain is that things will change; I will change. I think that I’m becoming okay with that. And as far as the quote above goes, I’m not so sure that I agree anymore. I see the past more as a foundation for the future; right now, it’s the only thing solid underneath my feet. Of course, that doesn’t mean that I’m about to sit down right now and cling tight to the past. But I do think that the past contributes to our future more than we want to give it credit for. We can either let it hold us back (like an anchor) or propel us forward. I think it’s easy to think that we have to completely let our past go or bury it in order to move forward, but that’s just not how it works.
For me, this process of moving forward has been about embracing the things I love about my past and tweaking the things that need a little work. Sure, there are some things that we can let go of, but to completely let go of the past would mean letting go of who you were. I guess that’s the point that the quote makes, but I don’t think it’s right. Who you are now and who you will be is based off of who you were in the past, and I just can’t let that go. I can change certain things I don’t like and build upon certain things that I do like, but I can’t just let go of or ignore any of who I was in the past. The past itself is not an anchor–it’s all in how we handle it. We can hold ourselves back by living in the past, or we can embrace it and move forward. Ultimately, it’s my choice, and I like the sound of that.