Choosing the path

When I began training in martial arts, it meant a whole new life for me. It meant I gave up smoking and cut back on drinking and watched what I ate and worked out every night. All of these were good things and I felt positive about them. It was just that sometimes I missed the old life. I missed loafing around in the evenings instead of working out. I missed scarfing down a huge tub of buttered popcorn while watching the matinee. All this being good to myself was sometimes, frankly, a little restrictive. I’d sling my gear bag over my shoulder on my way to train, and I’d lock the front door, thinking how much fun it would be just to put my feet up, pop open a wine cooler, and chat with friends.

This tendency to look back on the way my life used to be and to wax nostalgic about it nearly derailed my martial arts training before it got off the ground.

I related this challenge to one of the black belts early in my training, and she looked at me and said, “Stop looking back.”

Just that. Made perfect sense to me. I had chosen a new path, and it was time to look forward, to see where it was leading me, instead of focusing on where it was taking me from.

The same holds true for writers. Once you’ve chosen the path–you’ve committed to being a writer and you have a plan for making it come true–don’t look back. Don’t think about how much easier it was before you started devoting your evenings to writing. Think only about how the time spent writing is rewarding and enjoyable now and will yield even greater rewards for you in the future.

In other words, choose the path, then concentrate on the present and let the past go.