by Cathy Scibelli
Don’t let your rearview mirror be bigger than your windshield.
Anyone attempting to navigate through the rough terrain of a serious or chronic illness will understand that quote in a second. It is so tempting to keep looking in that rearview mirror because the view back there very often is so much more pleasant than what seems to lie ahead. It’s like coming back from a vacation in some tropical resort where everything was sunny, you felt great, and any worries you had in your everyday life were forgotten for a time. You look at the photos of your trip and say, “What I wouldn’t give to be back there again!”
But that quote is right–we can’t let our rearview mirror be bigger than our windshield because that only leads us into a detour where we bump along complaining and pitying ourselves and failing to see some of the great sights that lie ahead and the possibilities that can open up if we focus on the future and stop whining about the life we left behind in that rearview mirror.
In my personal experience, I’ve found the cancer highway is filled with ruts and potholes and dark tunnels. But along the route I’ve also picked up some “hitchhikers” who have turned out to be really fun and inspiring friends. I’ve discovered “new” cousins who I never had the chance to get to know when I was busy speeding along in my life at 100 miles per hour. Now that I’ve slowed down, I see a lot of sights I never noticed.
If I pay attention to what lies ahead, I often discover new avenues for my writing and new opportunities to share my passion for World’s Fair history. I admit that it’s not easy to keep looking ahead and sometimes it’s scary to wonder where the road will end. But it’s still better to keep looking through the windshield than to live regretting what you can never go back to.
Cathy Scibelli is a writer who enjoys exploring new avenues where she can use her experiences of living with metastatic breast cancer to inspire others to continue to “look ahead” with anticipation and not fear.