With life, we always seem to be doing one of three things:
- Dwelling on the past.
- Figuring out the present.
- Hoping for the future.
Everyone knows the classic story of “A Christmas Carol” and as Christmas day draws closer variations of this story are seen everywhere. My personal favorite is the movie “Scrooged” starring Bill Murray. I love Carol Kane as the ghost of Christmas present. She is absolutely hilarious and if you have never seen it before I recommend watching it. Unless you really just have no sense of humor whatsoever, I doubt that you will be disappointed.
I’ve never really paid much attention before to the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future. They were always fictional figures in the main character’s life, usually Ebenezer Scrooge. They came, showed the Scrooge bits and pieces of the past, the present, the future, and then moved on leaving Scrooge to figure it out or be condemned. Eventually the Scrooge always gets his or her act together at the last minute and all’s well that ends well. Or is it?
We never know what ends up happening to the Scrooges beyond the happy and joyful ending of the movie. Sure the Scrooges may run around screaming “I’ve changed!” or doing the good deeds they should have done anyway, but what about after that. When New Year’s Day comes around do the Scrooges still accept their newfound selves? Or does the memory of the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future fade deep into the sub-concious like a bad dream?
We are the Scrooges.
We make mistakes and most of the time we learn from them. When we remember them or others remind us of them, this is our ghost of the past. It is our reminder that if we don’t learn from our past mistakes we will be doomed in the resulting consequences. Our past dictates our present and who we become. A person who doesn’t learn from their past mistakes is like a person who has an addiction. You keep going back to it because you have become complacent. You lose your self worth and your self-esteem. The longer you stick with it, the harder it is to recover from it. The past is the past and we have to forgive ourselves and others for it. Our past does not always determine our future.
We have ghosts of the present as well. There is always that one person in everyones life who tells them how their life should currently be going. They tell you things like you should quit that job and find a new one or how much they hate the person you are with and encourage you to look elsewhere. Nobody knows if these “ghosts” of the present are wrong or right. They don’t even know. All we can do is follow our own instincts and make the best decisions we can for us at the moment.
Lastly, we really do have “ghosts” of the future. They are our friends and acquaintances who have managed to acquire the life we always thought we would have by now. They have families of their own, great jobs, are financially stable, have crazy adventures, travel the world. All the things most of us wish we could do but can’t or won’t. There are also people who have managed to go down a road that we hope we never go down. They have stayed in abusive relationships, they are imprisoned for a heinous crime, they are addicted to drugs or alcohol, they are dead.
My own past, present, and future has never hovered over me as much as it has lately. Maybe being early 30’s has changed the way I look at things. I have a lot more past to dwell on, unfortunately. My present is requiring much more figuring out than I would have ever anticipated in my youth. My future feels shorter and shorter as I try to make something memorable happen now to ensure a great future. But, I can’t ensure anything. Life does not come with guarantees or promises. It doesn’t come with a handbook or a set of directions either. If we look around we can find things that help us find our way. We find people that lift us up instead of drag us down. Most of us will find a way to make a way to a contented life for ourselves someday.