Sunday, July 26, 2015

This Ain't the First.

There's a big quote on the wall in the breakroom at Wal-Mart. It goes like this:

"Today is the first day of the rest of your life"

Taking away the context - Wal-Mart breakroom, the suggestion that Wal-Mart will be the rest of your life - I find quotes like that in general irksome. Unless you've led an entirely negative, awful, tragic, traumatic life so far and have just overcome the worst of it, there's no way it can apply to you. Not in the literal sense - I've been labelled as 'literal' more than once - but in the sense that it seems to nullify your entire past, as if it doesn't count. Only today counts, as the rest of your life. The past is void.

The past isn't void if you've made mistakes and therefore have life lessons and experience to lead you forward. The only way it's void is if absolutely none of it has benefitted you in any possible way. Then you can say, 'let's start all over again. Today will be the first day of the rest of my life.' Quotes like that should be hung up over the exits to prisons or rehabilitation clinics, and I mean high-security prisons and long-term rehab places. They should be hung in delivery rooms in hospitals, meant for newborns (this is where I get literal). They can't read it but I'm sure it can make an appearance in the background of newborn photos, visible to read later in life. It would mean something there. Putting it up in an employee lounge at Wal-Mart just makes everyone feel trapped and pathetic.

Nullifying the past, with its actions and history and feelings and mistakes, completely nullifies your knowledge of how to act in the present and future. True wisdom doesn't come from anywhere else, and "inspirational quotes" like this one in such a normal setting would only, if it worked, inspire someone for the very short-term. Because it says that every day. It's there. Suddenly nothing matters but the present, regardless of any achievement or life lesson you had, and typically, in the moment, the present usually only does matter. But in terms of wisdom and experience - don't nullify how you got here. That was part of your life too. Really, the only day that you can consider the 'first day' of your life is your birthday - and then all the great ups and downs and mistakes and achievements that brought you to the present.

I wish they'd take it down. I don't normally pay attention to it, but it's hard not to notice it at least once while on break. It's in huge lettering. I have no regrets. I'm proud of my mistakes. I'm proud of my decisions, because if they resulted in good or bad, either way, I became wiser as a result. I have no feel to start all over. Then I'd have to relearn everything all over again. Who wants to do that?

Red Cloud
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