30 September 2010

Trying Not to Look Back

For the past two days, I've watched my kids careen around the cul-de-sac on their tricycles. They giggle and pedal as fast as their short legs will allow. Both days, I've dealt with owies resulting from said careening and both times, said children were taking a corner while looking behind them. No matter how many times I look into their teary eyes and try to impart the importance of looking at where they're going not where they've been, they still look over their shoulders, giggling and unmindful of the dangers ahead.

While I'm trying to teach my young ones to always look ahead, I'm still looking back.

I've heard it oft repeated that if we don't learn from our mistakes, we will be doomed to repeat them. My problem is that I've learned from my mistakes and yet I repeat them over and over in my mind, going over every last embarrassing detail, until I just want to flay myself. I don't know why I constantly remind myself of those indiscretions, but I do. It's like this sick little hobby, to go over every detail of the specific moment when I opened my mouth and inserted my foot or when I hurt someone's feelings or broke a heart. And in looking behind me, I inadvertently trip over my feet here in the present. I miss what my child just said or glaze over during my husband's deconstruct of his day. I walk through the present, but I'm not really present, because I'm living over the worst moments of my past.

I just want to look straight ahead and quit peeking over my shoulder, because I'm so damned tired of bandaging up old owies that should have healed long ago.

13 comments:

HEATHER said...

I do this too.

LceeL said...

It's called self-flagellation. It's what we do when we don't have anything current to feel guilty over..

Grant said...

You should practice not looking back by getting on a tricycle with the kids and careening around the cul-de-sac.

Finn said...

You have the perfection disease. You need to find some way to figure out what you learned from said mistake and reflect on how you've changed since then. When we know better, we do better.

You are not perfect. But you are perfectly wonderful just as you are. xo

sybil law said...

I was doing this last night!
I just tell myself, most of the time, that it gets me nowhere. Usually, that works.

hello haha narf said...

wish i could give some sage advice, but i don't make plans for the future and i don't analyze the past, i'm too busy barreling through life like a bull in a china shop. all i can say is i think you are wonderful and amazing and kind and generous and smart so you are entitled to a mistake or two. or even more. perfection is overrated. and i like you just the way you are.

Dave2 said...

For the most part, I don't live in the past. But when I make a big enough mistake, I actually CHOOSE to re-live it in my mind over and over again... suffering the horror of it over and over again is the only thing that makes me feel it won't happen again. Odd, I know.

Kim - Mommycosm said...

Ugh - I find myself doing this, too. Is it a mom thing? A woman thing? A type-A thing? Not sure. Just know that you're not alone.

I also slowly torture myself with the witty things I COULD have said in sticky situations. Good times.

Irrational Dad said...

Weird... I just recently tried giving myself a similar pep talk about getting over stuff and forging ahead. Hugs.

Shelli said...

I absolutely and totally do that, too. I even do that about things that happened when I was a child. No one remembers those things except me. Some of the people that were present are even dead by now, but still I do that. Why? If you figure it out, can you clue me in?

Faiqa said...

Hmmm. I guess it's better than glazing over and disappearing into a mistake that someone else made... guilty, your honor. :-(

Patois said...

Whenever I get into that flaying mode, I try to tell myself to remember the better times, the times I did it right. But I suck at doing that.

marty said...

I'm in the Witness Protection Program. I have no past. This solution might not be for everyone.