Quote of the Week: Tomorrow is Ours to Win or Lose
“Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or to lose.” – Lyndon B. Johnson
I found this quote on my daily igoogle fix and it stuck with me. To be honest, it took me a bit to figure out why. We see this sentiment all the time in many different forms. Focus on the present, the future. Don’t let the past weigh you down. You can’t change the past. I know these things. But to me, at least, it’s wishful thinking.
How often do we let a bad day drag us down? Recently I was stuck in a chain of unfortunate events (seriously, Lemony Snickett himself would be proud). Every morning I would receive some new, ground-breaking news and would spend the rest of the day upset and worried about what worse news the next day would bring. Eventually it stopped, as it was bound to, but it didn’t stop me from letting it weigh on me. Granted, it was some pretty heavy news. I felt like I had simply lost everything to change in a matter of days.
Note that I said I let it weigh on me. The reason this quote struck me when it did was because I could see the blatant truth behind it: you can’t change the past. Like I said, this has been etched into each of our minds at some point in time. But you know as well as I do that it’s a lot easier to be upset about what we have lost than to force ourselves to make choices. Look at Paris when she finds out that she was rejected from Harvard. Or Rory when she is turned down for the New York Times internship. Yes, we definitely need that time to wallow (see Lorelai, I remember). But what we do next is of the greatest importance.
Choice, I feel, is one of the most frightening things that we experience. Maybe not the trivial vanilla-or-chocolate-ice cream decisions, but the idea of making a decision that you will have to live with. And I feel these may be even smaller than we might think. Of course, when you’re deciding what career to go into or where to go to college it’s pretty easy to see how it will impact your future. But what about your reactions to a situation? How does that affect your person? Here’s what I see: I am still upset about what happened, but now it’s my choice whether or not I want to win back what I have lost. Does this mean I’m going to undo what happened? No. Unfortunately, that is out of my control. And that is really important for me to realize. But I can do so many other things to get past this. There are so many factors and opportunities that are in my court now. I need to decide to work to make tomorrow what I want it to be.
Tomorrow is mine. It is yours. And you know what you can control and what you can’t. If you don’t like something, change it. And if you can’t change it, find a way around it. Learn what you can from the past and move on; you gain nothing else from worrying about it. It’s your choice. So what are you going to do?