I read somewhere recently the following sentence:

“I’m thankful that there is so much more to learn in my life than there is to forget.”

The thought struck me, because it basically summed up my theory on how I try to live my life – in a nice tidy sentence.

I’m 33, still young with much more yet to see and accomplish – and learn – in life. I have lists of the things I have yet to do. My bucket list is long and varied. Chief among my goals is to see my two girls grow up and follow their own paths to happiness (and hopefully provide a few grandkids too!).

There’s plenty left to do.

And yet, in some ways I’ve already lived several lives. For anyone who knows even a few chapters of my life they know that there is very little in life that I haven’t said ‘yes’ to – very little that I haven’t already experienced, at least on some level.

I frequently have people ask me to tell them my story or to write a book about my life. I’ve also known plenty of people who look at my life and just shake their heads. For most, one major change in their lives is more than enough, and I get that.

To each his own.

For me though, my curiosity always wins out. Even in my adolescence I can remember saying, “I don’t ever want to have to look back and think, ‘what if…’” And I don’t. I can truly say I have few, if any, regrets. What’s the point?

I like who I am and who I am becoming, and each and every thing that has happened in my life has led me to where I am – even the not so great stuff.

Really though – what the sentence above brought home to me is what I’ve been trying to explain to people for years when they ask me how I’ve dealt with different things in my life and still have a smile on my face and a drive to see and do even more…

It’s all in how you handle it people! It’s in the perspective you take when looking back at it. Each and every experience brings with it consequences – some good, some bad – but they are ALL learning experiences and they are ALL an opportunity to grow and change.

For me, change is good. I thrive on the next new adventure and I truly cannot wait to learn more. And even more.

Look, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I haven’t been dragged down by depression over things I couldn’t change a time or two (or three) in my life, but… It’s kind of like my mom (a woman who has shown me incalculable strength through seemingly impossible situations) has always said… “Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying.”

So we do.

We laugh when we make mistakes, we laugh when we go the wrong way, we laugh when as we talk out the solutions. And sometimes we just laugh at the ridiculousness of how utterly horrible the situation is – because really – sometimes life just throws so much at you at once that you can’t do anything else.

So laugh. And do it as soon as possible.

Pick yourself up and ask yourself what you’ve learned. Then look around you and see what else there is to learn. This is a BIG world and you can’t even imagine what you don’t know about it. The events of our own lives – as HUGE as they may seem – are a drop in the bucket compared to what there is left for us to learn.

So, should we try to forget the past?

I say no. I say learn from the experiences and learn also how to laugh at yourself and the craziness of it all. Then take that with you as you go out and see what else there is to learn, because…

“I’m thankful that there is so much more to learn in my life than there is to forget.”

(I may have also gotten a little of this ‘when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade’ attitude from my 86-year-old grandmother who has these gems hanging around her house…)