“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.”
Hey 3.5 readers. BQB here. Recovering alcoholics at AA use this prayer all the time though I think it’s ok if you aren’t an alcoholic and want to use it anyway.
As I get older, I find myself having to, not necessarily say this prayer but remind myself of the concept.
There are mistakes I made that are in the past. I can’t fix them. I can learn from them, but I can’t reach back and make it so they didn’t happen.
Time has passed on and unfortunately, certain doors of opportunity have shut to me. Had I spent more time knocking on them in the past, they might have opened. Now I must realize that knocking on certain doors will only give me a sore first.
The problem is we have two competing forces in our brains. Ask someone for advice and they’ll tell you 1) Stop dwelling on the past and 2) Work on achieving what you want in the future.
The problem is these, in the abstract, don’t seem like opposing ideas but they are.
For example, if you flubbed things up with an ex, then that’s over. It’s done. It’s in the past. And yet, it’s also positive to want someone new yet you have to accept they won’t be what your ex was.
Maybe you want that big job but have to realize you’re a certain age. You didn’t strike while the iron was hot. Didn’t get the right degree or meet the right people or the right skills or what have you. Maybe it’s not too late to try but then again, you might be at an age where you’re more likely to find success just doing what you’re doing now and making it better the best you can.
Younger you are, the better life is. When you’re ten, it’s not entirely impossible that you might become an actor or an NBA star or a singer or the president. By 20, most of these are gone, 30 and 40, well, are they hiring Wal-Mart greeters? Alas, the older you get, the more life takes away.
I’m at a point where I have to forgive and forget. Crazy, because as I look back, I’m able to tell my young self exactly what he should do at every step of the way. That’s probably not so much wisdom as it is hindsight. He didn’t know what to do so he did something. I’m living with the results. I know how it worked out. I can’t pick up a time phone and tell him to try something different. If I did, I don’t know how that would have worked out either.
So, that’s basically it. What’s over and done and what can be changed for the better seem like two oppose forces yet they really do collide. We’ll torture ourselves if we keep trying to undo that which can’t be undone. We’ll make our situations worse if we don’t fixing things that can still be fixed.
We don’t want to call the game too early when there’s still points that technically could be scored. We don’t want to miss the after game nacho dip due to an unlikely hope that a kicker might score a goal with one last second on the clock.
Sorry if my sports metaphors aren’t working. It’s too late for me to join the NFL, after all, and that is actually one thing I’m certain I can’t change.