Before & After: Directions in Time that Mark Change

Cover of the 1898 edition

Cover of the 1898 edition

‘It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.’ — Alice in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

How poignant is that one line of dialogue? In that one statement, Alice acknowledges that she herself has changed significantly since her fall down the rabbit hole.

Her insight highlights the point of no return we have all encountered: the moment of change. This is when events, some outside of our control, change us to the point that we can’t relate to the person we used to be before we lived them. Where time divides into two parts — the before and the after.

When change occurs to us, we often look upon the before as the Golden Age. We mentally dwell on what once was, what’s missing, how life is lacking and what could have been if only.

But it doesn’t help to try to hold on to the past. That image is worn, dated, sepia. You are a different person now than you were before you fell down the rabbit hole, lost your job, got a divorce, had kids or declared bankruptcy.

Socrates is credited with saying, loosely translated, that to survive change one must not dwell on the before but focus one’s energy on rebuilding the after.

We may not be able to control what happens to us in life, but we can control our actions and our reactions. We can control the after. Take the reins on our new path, new adventure and on the new person we were meant to be.

You and only you have the ability, the power to shape your happily ever after.

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