Your Past Will Hold You Back If You Let It

We all know those people who can’t let go of their glory days. Hell, the former high school football star unable to adapt to life as an adult is a popular cliché. Just think about Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite. Some people just can’t move on from when they felt most relevant in the world. They hold onto the past like a crutch instead of focusing on making their present better.

Some people also let one event or series of events stop their lives from progressing. They experience a hardship and let their dreams and lust for life go stagnant. They can’t work towards a better future because they are stuck in the past; they can’t let go of the things nobody has the power to change. They just float through life thinking, “What if?”

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You can’t let the past hold you back. We have a limited time on this planet and regret is something we can’t afford to deal with. We have to accept things as they happen[ed] and move on. What good does obsessing on the past do? It certainly doesn’t change anything.

Remember, life isn’t just about the good or bad things that have happened to you; it’s about the collection of experiences that have made you who you are. You wouldn’t be the same person if your past was different. Whether that person is good or bad is entirely up to you. It’s your choice to learn from the things you’ve experienced or let them hold you back.

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Nostalgia Is Only A Product Of Age

You’re getting older and you can’t do the things you once did. That’s why your memories of going down a fiery hot metal slide in the summer seem happy. But if you hopped on that scalding death slide today, it probably wouldn’t be such a good time. And that’s because we tend to view our memories through rose-colored glasses.

If you have kids you know that a minor, inconsequential event can seem like the end of the world to them. The same thing happened to all of us: our first trip to the dentist, first day of school, first time we got in real trouble, first kiss, these things were monumental at the time. But when we grow up, they are things we either forget about or think fondly of.

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But just because we are older doesn’t mean we can’t create new things we’ll become nostalgic about. Just talk to people who are in their 80s and 90s. They aren’t just thinking about their childhood; they look back on their 30s, 40s, and 50s the same way you look back on your teenage years.

We don’t stop living until we die. Sounds stupidly obvious, but some people seem to forget that. They hit a certain age and stop learning or growing as individuals. And often times the only thing they have are their memories. It’s like they are unwilling to create new ones. Like age is some inhibiting thing that prevents us from enjoying life. If you’re healthy and stay active, there’s no reasons you can’t ride out your life until the wheels fall off.

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My basement is all cleaned up now and the garbage men have taken my soggy boxes of memories away to the dump. But that doesn’t change who I am or what I’ve experienced in life. And while a part of me will miss some of my old stuff, it feels good to let it go. Holding on to things for sentimental reasons is fine, but having them doesn’t change who we are.

It’s hard to let ago until you finally do. Once you release the anxiety of losing something important, you get to go back to living your life. But you must be willing to let go. If you hold onto pain or regret, it’ll anchor you to the ground and keep you from flying. And if there is one constant to life, it’s that it keeps moving forward—with or without you. But trust me, you’ll enjoy it much more if you move forward with it.

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Share this article if you liked it. Then check out these other great life pieces!

8 Reasons Why Your Work Friends Are Your Best Friends

10 Ways To Make Life Amazing In Your 30s

The Importance of Finding Your Purpose in Life


  1. This was an awesome article.
    Funny enough, I actually remember that book! lol
    This was oddly therapeutic for me, especially in light of the recent loss of Chester Bennington. Thanks, Mr. James!


    1. Thanks for reading. Yeah, I had the whole series as a kid. I liked Goosebumps, but something Always drew me to the goofier stuff. I was also quite saddened by the loss of Mr. Bennington. He was far too young and too talented to leave this world.


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