I am home. For years now, I have lived out of state and visited 3 or 4 times each year. Now I’m here. Between my memories of what it was and the way it is now, it’s all changed.

Most of these changes are for the good. I see roads widening to handle the extra traffic, more small stores for specialty items, more restaurants for those of us who struggle to cook, more specialty grocery stores for those of us who, despite our lack of cooking still prefer to have good foods in the fridge, and expanding housing developments. And while some may argue that development of the land is not necessarily a positive thing, what I see is life happening all around me. There’s still plenty of farmland and rich, rolling hills and trees, but there are new businesses, and with them, new workers and families and their needs.

Pillar postBut not every place has been so prosperous. There are places where the opposite is the case: I remember bright neighborhoods, towns, churches, and schools where today there are bleak and dwindling vacancies instead.

It saddens me to see areas that resemble ghost towns only holding on by a thread. It’s been hard to reconcile reality with the beautiful and lively memories that I have. In frustration, I shout in my mind, “Don’t you remember? How did it get like this? We have to fix this! Let’s make it like it was.”

I’ve had no success with that line of thinking. And yet, I’ve thought it and thought it again and again.

And within the last couple days it occurred to me: I’m wasting time and energy on a moot point, staring behind me like a pillar of salt, trying to memorize the details so I can bring them back again. I can’t resurrect the past.

Therefore, lamenting over the past is done. I gave it its time, and I’m letting it go. Now, the business of moving forward begins, and the only way to do so is to get out of the past.

You can’t build a future when you’re looking behind you.

Turn around, kid. You’ve got this.

Jody Brown is the author of Upside Down Kingdom, and is a multi-blogger, poet, and traveler. Her current writing projects, including her daily blog endeavor, #Project365, can be found at JodyBrown.com/writing