The past is meant to stay behind us.
When you take a walk into yesteryear, it’s easy to expect it to look exactly like it did the last time you were there. The rides are still up and running, with long lines. The food tastes the same, and you visit your favorite concession stand to find a taste of yesterday. The view hasn’t changed much either with the nearby city skyline taking up most of the horizon.
Except, nothing looks the same when you revisit yesteryear. Some replica of it may still be there, like an amusement park with no customers. No one rides the rides because they stopped years ago. The concession stands aren’t labeled anymore either, because graffiti covers the familiar names. It isn’t the same amusement park you remembered it to be.
At first, it’s very discomforting. You’re almost unaware you’re looking at the past because your perspective feels so natural. It feels so right. You see things the way you used to see them. You don’t notice the cockroaches scrambling around the trashcans, the eerie music, or the way the wind blows the gates open. No one is coming, yet you still feel like this place is a place you want to revisit.
And then it becomes hard. You wish it was the same, you wish it was different, you wish you’d never looked over your shoulder when you left the first time. The thing is, you’ll look over your shoulder time and time again until you feel it in your bones that it’s time to go. It’s time to let go.
Letting go of the past isn’t as easy as it sounds. You don’t just walk away from your favorite rides, your favorite childhood memories. You don’t walk away from heartbreak, ache, or the dull sense of longing you might have. Instead, you shed it piece by piece. Like a puzzle of pieces that aren’t meant to be together, eventually the past breaks off from you.
If there are things in your past you wish would stay there, let them. Let your memories be memories and let the past stay in yesteryear because the ghosts of yesterday mean nothing for the opportunities of tomorrow. You’re not powerless over your past. You can shut the swinging front gates of the not-so-amusement park. You’re not the same person you were yesterday, and you surely won’t be the same person tomorrow as you are today.
Tomorrow is a mystery and yesterday is history. The ghosts of your past don’t need to join you today. You’re more than welcome to leave open seats for them at your dinner table, but you’re also more than welcome to take the seats away when you’re ready. You are not your past, so do not let it stand in the way of your future.
You’re not powerless, you’re powerful.