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“Life is the art of drawing without an eraser.” – John W. Gardner
When I first read this quote, I was intrigued by it! It suggested so many things. One of my favorite images was getting a pencil set each fall for school—you know the kind that had 12 multi-colored pencils, printed with my name—SUSAN KONOWITZ—in gold letters, no less. The pencils even came in their own faux-leather packet with a snap on the top. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. But I digress—there’s a more valuable point here.
As we look back on our lives, we realize, especially as we grow into our “senior years,” that we made lots—I mean lots—of mistakes: poor decisions, hurt relationships, bad choices. For me, once I get past an initial regret, I tend not to dwell on a mistake. Just as Mr. Gardner suggests, we can’t change the past: we can’t relive it (although we may try to alter it in our minds), repair it, or enter a time machine and make different choices. All of our choices have brought us to this day—this amazing day—that gives us immeasurable opportunities to live fully.
So life calls to us to do our very best, to be conscious, to practice wisdom, to use our time productively. In spite of fear and anxiety driving our actions, we are called to move forward and discover what life offers. The past rests in our memories with all its flaws and blessings, and although we may have regrets, we have hopefully learned a great deal and can strive to be our best selves. That way, the unfolding future will hold fewer regrets and many more gifts.