You see the posts on every basic white girl or want-to-be personal trainer’s Instagram or Facebook feed. It’s typically along the lines of “You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep rereading the last one” or “If you keeping walking with your back turned to where you’re going, you will stumble into oncoming traffic and get steamrolled by a public transit bus.”
Since I can’t read to begin with and pick driving over cardio ten times out of ten, these quotes don’t necessarily apply to my life in a literal sense — but the message still holds an invaluable meaning. Not to mention, walking backwards is illegal in the states of Connecticut after sunset and Oregon if you’re eating a glazed pastry on a city street, and you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Seriously, go moonwalk with a doughnut right in front of a Portland cop’s face and try not to get slammed on the hood of a patrol car. You can’t.
We’ve been warned about the dangers of looking back at the past for thousands of years. In a little book called the Bible (ever hear of it?), there’s this dude Lot, his wife, and the city of Sodom. Now I guess the town’s residents must have been cornholing every turd tunnel in the borough — again, I don’t read but I’m safely assuming that’s the origin of the word “sodomy” — and noted pussy guy, God, saw this as a slap in the face and burned that mofo to the ground. Before doing so, Abraham must have vouched on his boy Lot’s behalf as Team Vagina, and Yah’ (Yahweh) spared his life and his wife’s on the condition that they didn’t look back at the hellfire destruction they were leaving behind them.
Doubting her man (women, am I right, guys?), homegirl glanced back and instantly turned into a pillar of salt. Unfazed and recently single, Lot kept booking it and lived a long, prosperous life — so past the age of 24. It’s been a decade since I went to Catholic school, but that’s generally the bullet points of that story. And since the day Sister Roseanne nailed that parable into my head harder than Father Gabriel nailed my fellow classmate and alter boy Kevin in the downstairs confessional, I’ve left everything I’ve ever touched burning to the ground into a pile of ash like my name was Sherman.
Break up with a girlfriend? Go scorched earth even if it’s mutual or your decision. Kind of a weird move if your ex isn’t throwing shade after the relationship. Leaving or getting axed from a job? Throw fuel onto those flames, steal the Keurig, and flip double birds on the way out. You don’t need that LinkedIn endorsement. No employer actually calls the application references you write down, either. Mom and Dad slashing your weekly bar tab allowance by $50? Stick it to them and cut ties with them altogether so they can’t claim you as a dependent on their taxes. Yes, they’ve been paying for everything the entire 20 years of your existence, but now you can’t go to $2 Tuesdays for liquor pitchers. So what do you have to be grateful for?
It’s time we all take a page out of Hernán Cortés’ book. Many people think Cortés burned his ships once arriving to the New World to prevent mutiny by guys who weren’t team players, but I know for a fact it was a motivational ploy. Like a football coach burying game tape, it was both a symbolic gesture to get his guys to look forward while simultaneously making it physically impossible to go back to anything in their past. Yes, they did go on to commit mass genocide, rape, and other atrocities against a native people until wiping out that group completely, but they also acquired massive amounts of wealth, land, and Cortés died peacefully many years later back in Spain after accomplishing all his conquest goals. So maybe pick and choose the good from the bad with ol’ Hern.
In 1962, Richard Nixon pretty much told the state of California to go fuck itself after losing an election for governor. Less than a decade later, he was President of the entire damn nation. Tesla told Edison to “suck it.” Now he has an entire line of electric cars named in his honor. Jay-Z stuffed his mentor Jaz-O into a trash can and now has a cuckold wife in Beyoncé making entire albums about his cheating ways, making millions of dollars under his own label adding to his already half a billion net worth while Jaz-O is, well, Jaz-O.
Even LeBron set the entire city of Cleveland on fire and won the only two championships of his career. He has since tried to rebuild that crossing, but will most likely sputter into the same pain and agony that caused him to leave in the first place. There’s just no logical reason to go back to your past — especially if it’s Cleveland. So carry a lighter in one hand, a gas can in the other, and leave yesterday in embers. You’ll live a much more successful life doing so. And if not, at least you’ll still be able to fall back on…right. Success it is..
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