“Today is about tomorrow, not about yesterday.”

That statement came from the president of Georgia Writers Museum at the start of a strategic planning session I took part in last week.

Normally, I am intimidated by things like strategic planning sessions. They’re simply not my area of expertise, and when I’m in one I often feel like I’m in the wrong place, or in over my head.

This one was different, though. Creativity was emphasized, and the exercises we did over the course of the day were the kind that drew ideas, plans, and priorities out of us that we may not even have realized we had. At least, I didn’t. And the session did indeed focus on where we are going, not where we’ve been.

That really hit home with me, literally, since my husband and I have started working on some cleaning-out-and-decluttering projects at home.

That’s not my area of expertise, either. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being Marie Kondo minimalist and 10 being the hoarders you see on TV, I’m probably about a 6—somewhere between nostalgic sentimentalist and packrat. My main problem is that I’d have an easier time letting go of things if I knew they were going to a good home instead of a landfill. And if I could shake the certainty that as soon as I gave away or threw away my trinkets and knickknacks, I’d discover that one of them was worth thousands of dollars.

The fact that our kids have absolutely no interest in their baby pictures and school artwork, my mother’s china and my grandmother’s figurines, or the souvenir bells I have been collecting since before they (the kids, not the items) were born, doesn’t mean I can just shrug and toss them (the items, not the kids) into a donation box. Still, I realize this isn’t really about them (the kids or the items). It’s about me. And about spending today looking back at yesterday instead of looking forward to tomorrow.

So I’m going to try to remember that today is about tomorrow, not about yesterday. Perhaps that will help me let go of things that have sentimental value, but no practical value or usefulness to me at this point in my life. When I do, I know I’ll have more time, space, and energy for whatever is still ahead of me. I’ll enjoy my surroundings more. And I’ll be able to take pleasure in the wit and wisdom of Eleanor Roosevelt, who told us, “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why we call it the present.”

May 22, 2023
©Betty Liedtke, 2023

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