In many ways September is better than January for new beginnings. Maybe it’s because of the “back to school—new year” thing that we all remember going through as kids, and with our kids. It’s time for that fresh start. It’s time to be moving on.
Before moving ahead maybe we need to look back and remember what’s come before and who has come before us. We need to remember what inspires us to keep going. As the saying goes, “you can’t really know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been.” So, I’ve been reading some of my blog posts and other writing from the past year. Lest you think I’m just being self-indulgent I had to find some appropriate writing clips to send to a potential client. I also needed to remind myself that I’ve done some good work in the past year, and that it’s time to do better work. I didn’t send this one called Back to the Future but as it was written about this time last year, I thought I’d share some of it with you here, and then move on from there.
While it is all well and good to say “live for today”, we can’t help thinking about tomorrow. Young children think in terms of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Everything before today happened yesterday; things to come will happen tomorrow—or the tomorrow after that. That logic has its appeal.
While we may think in of long and short-term pasts and futures, we really only have today—even though some of the yesterdays are in the distant past, and the tomorrows may be in the long-off future. So we can really only worry about today. That’s the gist of an article, “Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow” that is read at many “AA” program meetings. It points out the importance of living “one day at a time.”
I learned the importance of these words from my Uncle Bob and he was the embodiment of that spirit. He was a proud member of the “AA family” for more than 42 years. (I am not breaking his anonymity—he would tell you if he were here, and would like that I told you.) When he died suddenly in June I’m sure it was without regret. Everyone around him knew he loved them and he knew he was loved. More than 200 people gathered for his funeral. Many more than that came to the wakes and memorials held in the days before and the week after.
“Bob K” had a heart that was his curse and our gift. If you needed help; if you needed a ride; if you needed a place to stay; if you needed…—and it was in his power to help you, he would. He was a wonderful dad, grandfather (Papa), uncle, and friend. He was my mother’s youngest brother, and he was a really good friend to her too. I want to, and will write more about him, but the words don’t come easily yet. They are starting to, and he’d be saying, “Cork, just get it done—you might only have today to work on it.” Cork was his nickname for me. He liked nicknames and shortcuts, and many of his family and friends were given a nickname. He liked to keep things easy. He’d shorten the name of that article to YTT. He also liked KISS principle—Keep It Simple, Silly (or Stupid, but he didn’t like to be rude.)
When I told a friend who knew how close I was to my uncle about his death she asked me, “So how will you move on?” It was an unexpected but good question. She knew that he wouldn’t want me, or anyone else, spending a lot of time grieving his passing. He would want us moving on. At that particular moment I didn’t really know, but I remember saying, “I’ll just try to do what he did—make every day count.” I’m trying. I am also trying to honour him by helping others whenever it’s in my power to do so. I find it easier to move on because I’m inspired by so many others. I’m inspired by the energy and enthusiasm shown by my husband and sons in their work and their lives. The success and work ethic of so many of my friends and colleagues in PWAC gives me renewed energy. And I’m inspired by the knowledge that I don’t have to worry about yesterday or tomorrow. I just have to worry about today, and move on from there. One day at a time.
Do you have, or have you had, someone in your life that inspires you? How do you move on after a setback? Join the conversation. Let’s keep moving on together.
YESTERDAY, TODAY, AND TOMORROW
There are two days in every week about which we should not worry, two days which should be kept free from fear and apprehension.
One of these days is YESTERDAY with its mistakes and cares, its faults and blunders, its aches and pains. YESTERDAY has passed forever beyond our control.
All the money in the world cannot bring back YESTERDAY. We cannot undo a single act we performed; we cannot erase a single word we said. YESTERDAY is gone.
The other day we should not worry about is TOMORROW with its possible adversaries, its burdens, its large promise and poor performance. TOMORROW is also beyond our immediate control.
TOMORROW’S sun will rise, either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds–but it will rise. Until it does, we have no stake in TOMORROW for it is as yet unborn.
This leaves only one day–TODAY–. Anyone can fight the battles of just one day. It is only when you and I add the burdens of those two awful eternities–YESTERDAY and TOMORROW that we break down.
It is not the Experience of TODAY that drives us mad–it is remorse or bitterness for something which happened YESTERDAY and the dread of what TOMORROW may bring.
LET US, THEREFORE, LIVE BUT ONE DAY AT A TIME.
Authorship attributed to Richard W., a member of the Daytona Beach AA group. He wrote it in his “Daily Journal” in 1942 about a month after joining the program. He retained his sobriety until his death in 1965—source, Toronto Intergroup newsletter, “Better Times.”