This picture was taken last August on one of my favorite stretches of Lake County Forest Preserve’s Millennium Trail in Wauconda, IL. With the cold weather rolling in, I miss and cherish these bike rides so much, but I know the weather will be nice again before I know it. I so look forward to that time.
This particular shot is of a section of the trail near Gilmer Road, which overlooks some wetlands. It is very peaceful back there the majority of the time, which is why it is one of my many thinking spots. Looking back, it is hard to believe four months have passed and that so many changes have taken place in my life during this time. I find myself realizing that I have come a long way since then, and have come an even longer way since the end of my teens.
Despite being the overwhelmingly positive and uplifting person I am today, I was not always like this. I have always been caring and considerate of others, as my strong upbringing and supportive family and friends made me that way, but I never saw myself in the most positive light. I have always expected a lot out of myself, maybe too much at times, and looked at my failures as a direct reflection of who I was, rather than part of my overall growth. This led to me having an extremely negative outlook of “me”, and I frustrated and hurt many people I care about because of this.
I dealt with these issues the first 19 years of my life, then the most amazing thing happened: I woke up. I realized that there was no way I could truly love or care about the people who mean the most to me if I did not do the same for myself. Once I started embracing my past and how far I have come as a person, in addition to mending the relationships I had strained, I can now be who I was truly meant to be. When it comes to our pasts, some have had it harder than others, but we are all capable of healing. It just takes the right amount of time and support in order to ensure the healing process completes itself.
As hard as it may be to wrap our heads around why things happened the way they did or why we did things a certain way, it is important to know that those things helped us grow. The past may not be the prettiest thing, but it is necessary in helping us move forward. If we are not moving forward, what are we doing?
Hiding from your past will keep you on the ground, but embracing it will put you in the clouds.