Can We Leave Our Past Behind?

Our past is woven into our lives like an intricate pattern in a tapestry. I believe we can never walk away from it and leave it behind for good. Unresolved issues especially seem to follow us wherever we go. There is no escape. They will come to bite us when we least expect it, often when our reserves are low.

Whatever has happened to us, these experiences mould us into the people we are today. How we have been brought up, what has happened to us, good and bad, makes us who we are. The people we choose as friends mould us too. Living with the partner we have chosen has a strong influence in making us into the people we become. Often imperceptible changes occur through our lifetime, but we can choose our attitude about how we react to what has happened to us along life’s journey.

The experiences of deep hurt cannot be pushed under a rug forever. They will surface at some point. We cannot say, “I am moving on, I will have a new life and not think of the old one, it is too painful.”  The heartache we went through as a family is seared in our hearts like a branding iron. At times it feels surreal and then something sparks a train of thought and the pain of remembering is felt keenly.

If I had chosen a different path in career and partner I would not be who I am now. At this moment I wouldn’t change marrying Bryan or having our children together. Not one bit of it. As I look back on life I can see things from a slightly different perspective.

All of us come from a heritage of genes from two sides of a family. We cannot live with one side and not the other. Eventually the side we deny will call us.

What made me think of this was Bryan and I went to the Edinburgh Tattoo in Wellington recently and because it is a strong part of our heritage, hearing the bagpipes stirs our blood. It has a strong pull. And yet we are both from families who emigrated to New Zealand five generations ago. The Scottish traditions weren’t passed on down. They have been diluted along the way. As we have aged we find the history of both our families fascinating. We all come from a mixture of cultures and family traditions that make us into unique individuals.

Instead of denying our past I would rather face my demons and make peace with them to then move forward.  It is a high cost to face our fears. It is painful mostly.  But the payoff is worth it. They do not have the same hold over us. We become free to live a better life and the opportunity for new beginnings, and to be a light for someone else coming along behind us.