Moving Forward, NOT Looking Back

Last week, I hosted a fun Friday game on my Facebook author page. I asked fans to post an inspiring quote, and I said that whichever quote had the most "likes" would be the "winner." I also said that I'd blog my thoughts on the quote here for the winner to see. There were some really great quotes posted, so I really hope that those who didn't win will be watching and willing to play again!

In the meantime, the winner was
Jessica Schmidt!

In the interest of full disclosure, this crazy girl isn't your typical Brandi Kennedy reader ... she has been like a sister to me since we met as kids in elementary school. We've loved, we've laughed, we've fought, we've envied, we've bickered, we've cried, we've taken each other down, and we've built each other up. And now, we're so old that neither of us can remember for sure whether it was fourth or fifth grade where we met - even though I've looked it up in my yearbook multiple times. Sad huh?

Neither of us have led perfect, easy lives. We weren't born in beds of flower petals, and neither of us was raised like a fairy-tale princess. (If you were, please leave a comment ... I'd love to know what it was like!)

We've had our share of blessings - we've both experienced the highs of marriage and childbirth, that first paycheck, the first time feeling truly independent. We've had our share of heartaches, too. We've each sent a child off to surgery, we've each lost people or things that we loved, we've each experienced the heartache of death, and we've both been touched by divorce and various other traumas.

But you live and learn - even if change is hard. Even if you didn't want it. And even if you're still not sure you've learned to like it yet.

Change is hard. It's hard to move confidently into an unknown future, especially if the future you wanted so much has now become a dream that died in your past, something you have to force yourself to walk away from, moving forward when you aren't sure how - even if you did want to.

That's why I love that Jessica's mantra has become:
"Moving Forward, NOT Looking Back!"

It's a brave way to look at things, a reminder that what you wanted may not always have been the best thing for you. It's also a reminder that if you gave your all and you did your best, then you got out of it exactly what you needed. To me, it's a deceptively simple quote, with tons of possibility behind it. It's about life, it's about knowing that even though you are created by the events of your past, you don't have to live there.

You don't have to camp in the past - and you should make every effort not to, because life is about learning and loving, about hurting and healing, about growing and becoming. And you can't do any of those things when you're stuck in the past.

You can't move forward when you're rooted in "back then," and you can never have "after" if you can't let go of "before."

So if you're hurt by the past, trapped in bitter memories, or drowning in old sorrow, do the best you can every day to let the weight of it fall away. Turn it into a dirty bag of rocks that you don't need anymore and practice putting it down. Look through it now and then if you really have to; but do it to process the memories and how you came to be carrying them, not to mull them over and beat yourself up with them. And once you've got the hang of picking them up and putting them down at will?

Walk away. Leave them lying there.

And never, never look back.


  1. Reading this is like sitting down with a good friend, letting out a sigh of relief and just talking it out, thinking about life, and feeling this peace that comes, despite everything that went wrong. Such a pleasure to read.

    1. Thanks!! I'm glad the message came across clearly. It was fun doing that fan game and I loved that it gave me something good to blog about. I will be doing that again soon for sure.


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