Fast Forward and Rewind

This might make me seem old, but I remember using VCRs. The ever-present fuzziness in the picture, the frantic mashing of the Play button after fast-forwarding through the previews, “Be Kind – Rewind.” They are now a relic of the past, relegated to sitting on the shelf at your local Goodwill. You had to be careful how much you used the Fast Forward and Rewind buttons – as my mom would always say, “you’ll wear out the tape!” Now, if you want to skip ahead, you can just select the right chapter from your Blu Ray disc, or even just slide the time bar forward or backward to just the right spot on your phone.

It’s easy to want to use the Fast Forward button in our relationships as well. Life brings a never-ending stream of challenges, unexpected costs, and stresses, and all of those can affect how we interact with our loved ones. Instead of looking at the bills piling up, the tough conversation you both need to have with each other, or the damage from the fender bender, it can be nice to look ahead and imagine the perfect future. It IS very important to plan for the future, and it can be a great motivator to help in daily life; but you also can’t skip through all the hard parts, because those are what build us into who we need to be.

An even easier trap to fall into is always looking back. Rewinding to memories of when things were better, or your significant other was somehow less difficult to deal with, can temporarily make you feel better about present struggles. However, if you compare things to the past you have to remember you are looking back with hindsight. You will naturally remember the good times as perfect, and the bad times as brief and simple to fix. You should learn from past mistakes, but only think about them enough to help avoid repeating them. Likewise, you should enjoy the good memories without being overcome with trying to make everything “like it was before.”

It can be difficult to stay in the present – but that is the moment you are living in. Every experience you are having is something you will only truly have one time, and you need to make the best of it. If it’s painful, you can use it to show yourself how much you can overcome – and you can come out stronger for it. If it’s joyful, you should slow down, and try to really appreciate every aspect and dimension of the happiness. Don’t wear yourself out always fast-forwarding and rewinding – remember to enjoy the scene in the movie you’re in.

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