Why I don’t look back

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Since I returned to Ireland from my life-changing three-year stint in New Orleans, I’ve had several people ask me the same question: “Do you miss it?”

Everyone knows I loved it over there. I got to live my basketball dream and grew an enormous amount as a person. I made legendary friends and had unforgettable experiences. My final eight months in town, I could hardly stop smiling, and I still feel a deep sense of gratitude for having gotten to know such a place.

But when I’m asked now if I miss it, I honestly respond, “No. I can’t say that I do.”

I don’t look back much. I’d rather stay focused on what I’m doing now and what I’ll do next. I can’t change the past, but I can take action in this moment to enjoy the present and set myself up for a bright future.

Chris Guillebeau once wrote about the danger of glory days. There’s the Vietnam vet who still talks and thinks about little else except his heroic war deeds. There’s the one-time teenage prodigy who never quite made it to the pros, now drinking his way through middle age and telling the bartender about the time they carried him off the field on their shoulders. There’s the 30-something who’s still in love with his first girlfriend, who he hasn’t seen since high school.

Reminiscing can be fun, and we should never forget the lessons we’ve learned in the past, but you severely limit your future when you let those fond old memories define you.

I left New Orleans at the perfect time. I was ready to move on, ready for a new adventure. Sure, I look back on my time there every so often and I smile. But then I snap out of it and remember that I have the opportunity create bigger and better smiles today and tomorrow.

We can be so busy missing back then that we end up missing right now. Look around. How can you make these days worth remembering?


FYI: I’m bumping up to three posts per week. Expect newness early every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Next up is an interview with a friend of mine here in Ireland who’s built a sweet side-business around his love for music. He’s forecasting $10-15k in earnings for 2011 while investing just a dozen hours per week.

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    1. Hey man,

      So true, so true! I still reminiss and tell others how much I loved university and that wish I was still there (ive left over 3 years now). The partys over! its time to look forward and open a new chapter.

      Full steam ahead!!

      • Thanks, Ryan. It’s the wishing part that really gets us in trouble. When we long for “the good old days,” we’re turning our back on the opportunities in front of us right now.

    2. Great post Niall. The trap of the past is too easy to fall into. What you’re saying, (particularly the paragraph about the dude in the bar) reminds me of the Bruce Springsteen song “Glory Days”. I try not to look back too much either, but I will say that a person needs to be okay with their past. Much of my ability to make the changes I’m making comes from the last year I spent kicking about the dust and picking at the scabs on my soul, so to speak. Being able to accept the past for what it is has allowed me to let it go and not have to look back at it.