The person you think you used to be has gone, and is never coming back. The idealised impression of your past self that your present self competes with is a mirage. Every moment you live is a rapid and shocking abandonment of the last version of yourself. You are forever ‘straying from the person you used to be’. You are an autonomous entity coursing through time, moored only to the eternal now.
We should not attempt to return to a past that no longer exists, or seize upon a future that is forever beyond our reach, but should instead travel along our own inner axes to a more meaningful part of our present selves.
We may feel sadness for what we have lost to the past — our freedom, our vigour, our values, our playfulness, our openness to life — but regrets can be a wonderful indicator of how to improve the current condition of our souls. Rather than allowing these regrets to swallow us up, we can let them identify our present needs. We can call back these lost parts of ourselves and live them in a wiser, more experienced way, instead of wasting precious time in pointless competition with the past.
This call to adventure can begin immediately, in the next moment. We can incrementally shift the direction of our impulses toward the next best thing, rather than the worst, and not become consumed by our regrets, but informed by them, as they guide us forward toward the more necessary part of our nature.
- Nick Cave via The Red Hand Files