Walking Backwards

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“If you walk backwards you’re likely to run into something.” 

I’m sure there are versions of that statement in every major branch of philosophy, so I am neither claiming it as my own nor citing a particular source–let’s just call it inarguable wisdom. For those who might really need their symbolism 3D printed and handed to them, it means if you are focused on your past instead of the future, something is going to go wrong; being distracted by the constant loop from the past makes it hard to concentrate on future plans, and then your life is about that one thing rather than being about the stuff that’s still to come.

Divorce. The winning touchdown. You’ve heard it–there is someone you know with a story that defines them. Those folks are walking backwards, and you’ll find if their present is about their past, it usually effects their relationships, their ability to have fun, and takes its toll on their character.

Ever lost a project? The day before, you were frustrated with something, but then it’s gone, and it was the best work you had ever done. Give it time, and it would have been your Opus, the thing that would have defined, you, and now it’s gone, like the graze of a football just missing your fingertips as the clock runs out. Now you’re the one on their third beer getting ready to tell the story again. Yup, you became that guy.

So start fresh. Shake it off. Walk away. Pick your favorite disco mantra and dance to the tune of You-Were-Too-Good-For-Them-Anyway. No, it’s just that easy. I said it, so it’s done, right? No need for years of therapy. Woo hoo. Go me… dialing my therapist… 


Two things:
First, losing creative content can feel like a death, because you breathe life into it, you nurture it, you watch it grow, and then it’s gone and you stand there, thinking of all the things you’ll never get to do together–planned edits, approaching deadlines, and long walks on the beach, all gone in the blink of an eye. I totally get it.

But stop talking about it. Seriously, you aren’t going to be able to work on anything else if everything stands in the shadow of the would-have-been-amazing-work you lost. In order to be able to create again, you have to let it go. Don’t try to recapture it–you can borrow from it, you can be inspired by it, but you’ll never simply recapture and recreate it, and trying will only get in the way. Art is art, it’s a one-time deal and that’s what makes it special. If you could magically print out another copy from your brain, I think that would take away from it’s inherent value anyway. 

It stinks, mourn the loss, and move on, because there really are no other options. Once something is gone, it’s gone.

Two, you need a maintenance contract for your NAS/SAN system so that it never happens. Coping advice is one thing, but I’m still all about trauma-avoidance, so let’s not lose stuff in the first place, if we can manage it. 

But the whole, “move on” thing is still good advice.

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