“Your past is not your future — unless you want it to be.” – Wayne Dyer
When I was 18-years-old I opened my first credit card. I remember filling out the application online thinking, “there’s no way I’m going to be able to get a credit card, I don’t even have a job!” But sure enough, I was approved. My limit was $300, and I was ecstatic! Growing up poor, and being financially illiterate, I didn’t bother to read the fine print of my credit card contract, nor did I take it seriously.
Interest rates? Uhhh?
Minimum payments? What’s that?
Credit Score? Who cares?
I knew one thing — I was getting $300 in the mail and I already knew the purse I was going to buy as soon as I got my hands on it.
A week later, my shiny blue card arrived in the mail and I went straight to the mall and splurged on a $250 purse. In a matter of minutes, my new credit card was nearly maxed out. But, I didn’t care — I was hooked.
As soon as I got home that day I applied for another credit card. Then another. Then another. Before I knew it, I had 5 credit cards and 10 thousand dollars of credit card debt.
Initially, I took a cash advance on one of my credit cards to make the minimum payments for the others, and for a few months, that kept me afloat. But soon, I had no money left and the interest rates were quickly piling up. My credit score plummeted because I stopped making my payments and before I knew I was receiving letters from lawyers, and getting collection calls daily.
Three years later, I knew I had to clean up my debt and credit. But, I didn’t know where to begin.
I just knew I had to get it done.
So, I set a goal: in 6 months I’d pay off all of my credit card debt. I started searching for jobs, and ending up hustling my heart out — I got a waitressing job, dog sitting job and nannying job.
Once I have a few thousand dollars in my account I mustered up the courage to call the collection agencies and negotiate a payment plan (they were just happy they were finally getting some of their money) and ended up paying off all of my debt within the 6 months.
The reason I’m telling you this story isn’t that I want a pat on the back (okay, maybe a little one!) — I’m telling you this because your past doesn’t define your future. Just because I racked up a ton of debt in the past and was irresponsible with money doesn’t mean my future is tainted with the same fate.
Instead, I used that experience as a lesson to learn about how to be financially responsible, and how to save money.
You aren’t defined by your past unless you allow yourself to be. We all make mistakes. We all have things we would do differently if presented with the same situation again. And those mistakes offer us a chance to learn something so we can make better decisions in the present and future.
Maybe you got yourself into a world of debt like I did. Maybe you used to be an addict. Maybe you were a bully in high school. Maybe you worked too much and didn’t spend enough time with your kids. It doesn’t matter. That’s part of who you were, not who you have to be now.
At any point in time, you can choose to change your life. Your past experiences are your teachers, not your destiny. You can choose to be healthy. You can choose to be kind. You can choose whatever path you want. This life is yours for the taking.
If you’re in the midst of a personal crisis or feeling stuck where you are, and obsessing over the past, here are 9 questions you need to ask yourself and answer right now:
1.) When you look at your life, do you feel satisfied with everything in it? If NO, list out (in as much detail as possible) each thing you’re unhappy/not entirely satisfied with.
2.) Where do you feel most satisfied with your life? Why?
3.) How often do you set goals for yourself and follow through with achieving them?
4.) What is one big obstacle you have in being able to attain your goal(s)?
5.) What makes you happy? How often do you do this?
6.) How do you plan your day?
7.) Do you ever find yourself idly wasting your time? If yes, how often and how?
8.) What’s your biggest fear?
9.) What’s your biggest wish?
Whatever your answers are, trust in them. They will help guide you to your path — away from the past and into the present so you’re able to build the future of your dreams.
Our creator wouldn’t give us the ability to dream if it wasn’t also possible for us to obtain what we dream about. So focus on the now, push through today, and start taking those small steps that will make your future an exotic destination well worth the journey.
Stay focused on the road ahead of you. If you’re always looking backward then you’re going to crash over and over again.
The biggest indicator of where you’re headed isn’t based on your past, it’s based on your present. How you choose to spend your time now, and the decisions you make are what will shape your future. Every new moment you’re alive is another opportunity for you to make a better decision for your present and future.
Take advantage of this moment. It’s your gateway to a happy, healthy future.
About Antasha Durbin: Antasha is a spiritual writer, life-long student of the universe, and psychic tarot card reader. Her website, cajspirituality.com, is dedicated to casualizing the spiritual experience and making it attainable for anyone, anywhere, anytime. Follow her for free, easy-to-digest and highly actionable advice on spirituality, mindfulness and empowered living.