There is something freeing about severing the ties we have to the past. When we look back on the fond memories we shared with people we loved it's hard not to get nostalgic. The trick is to realize that the bad memories are often carried around with the good ones. They lurk in the places we don't look, and weigh us down silently.
When the cave men discovered fire, the world became a different place. Everything before fire became obsolete. New things were born from the flame and though the discovery was ultimately an accident, the human race built its survival from it.
Sometimes the flames we create can give us a second chance.
When we become overwhelmed by the demons that used to haunt our lives we must realize it's time to burn the bridges that lead us back to them. The demons. They can sneak up on you when you're feeling productive and happy. They wait to take advantage of your good mood. They are the killer of everything you can hope to be.
These demons can come in various forms. More often than not they're vestiges of relationships that used to work, but are now a burden to you. As humans we become attached to our past. Even the things we can't control somehow have power over us. Regrets are the manifestation of those feelings.
The bottom line is from year to year, we become different people who want different things. Our values shift, our core expectations of what life is supposed to be, or whatever, shifts too. We gain experience and memories that ultimately trump the old ones.
You must create distance between the person you were and the person you've become.
When I went to college my behavior started to turn my old ways obsolete. It's like I was a supercomputer that was updating every hour, dumping the megabytes of immature behavior and bad memories along the way.
We have a way of out dating ourselves. Once you get to a certain point, the things you used to love and the people you used to care about become useless. The now is the only thing tethering us to the future, and there's only one way to keep the rope taught.
Burn the rest down.
After I graduated college nearly two months ago, I felt the line from college still tied to me, holding me back. Events and places, people and things from the four years I spent tied to academia were weighing me down. The undertow of things from the past crossing the bridges I built wasn't letting up.
Once I left Athens I knew I had to burn the bridge back to it. In order to not repeat my mistakes and to look forward as if the future were clear in front of me, it had to go.
You must fake it for a little while as the dust settles.
When we build our bridges we take time. We nurture every conversation, every text message, every little thought of the person we are trying to gain trust with. Once they betray us, or take advantage of the hard work we have put in there is only one solution.
We can't retain the false hope that some day that the bridges we have burned will be rebuilt. Once you take that step into the new and the unknown things will not be the same. That is the best thing anyway.
The cavemen used fire for survival. We can too. It may seem like you're reinventing the wheel to run yourself over, but you're not. You're giving yourself a future by letting go of the past. The aftermath? Well, that's secondary.
After the smoke clears, a new path will make itself known. It may be far away. It may be full of surprises, but if we keep closely tethered to the old, we'll never get out of the darkness.
As I trip and stumble on my path, I keep myself sane with the knowledge that sometime soon, I'll have a small portion of my life figured out. It wouldn't be possible without the wreckage of the past. I used to cling to it, now I'm letting go.