April 4 – Keep Looking Through the Windshield

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.


5 responses to “April 4 – Keep Looking Through the Windshield

  1. Thanks for this reminder, because lately I’ve been missing that stuff in my rear view mirror a lot more than usual, and that’s saying something. And while I know its true that we need to be looking out the windshield more and all that stuff, sometimes it’s hard to do what you know to do. I need to remember that if we’re not looking ot of the windshield enough, we’re likely to crash! So thanks for reminding me.

  2. I understand how hard it is for you, I have several friends with fibromyalgia and I see their struggles. When I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer I admit I spent more than a month depressed that I could never go back to a place where I didn’t have a chronic incurable illness. But as time has gone by, I’ve discovered that when you force yourself to focus on the future it really changes your outlook and you discover there’s still a lot you can accomplish and many wonderful surprises along your route. Of course, I run out of gas sometimes and now and then the car breaks down, but we just have to pick up the pieces and keep motoring! 😉

    • Thanks for your kind reply, Cathy. I can’t quite imagine what it would be like to have cancer though my mom did die of bone cancer metasisized from her kidney. That was over 30 years ago and they didn’t have nearly the resources then that they have now. It still seems very recent to me, though. I’ve been working with, around, and through the fibro for about thirty years now and it’s wearing me out. I just wish I could find the energy to focus on the future. “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” and it’s that that frustrates me. I want to but I can’t sort of thing. I’ve made a lot of adjustments and I’m running out of room to wriggle. *S* But I havent quit, I just tell myself I’m resting.

  3. A very timely message for me as I grieve my role as therapist after 23 years and yet it being very CLEAR it was time for that phase of my life to end. Still in the process of finding my niche in this phase of life. I know the way will open….

  4. Sam–it’s amazing how time seems to stand still when we lose a loved one. Recently someone asked how long my Mom has been gone and I said it’s been 21 years but it feels like yesterday! Wow, 30 years of living with the fibro, I can understand how you are weary and frustrated! But please hang in there, you sound like a delightful person and the world needs more of those!
    And Woodscrone, I hope you find your niche soon. Maybe you could start a blog that will allow you to still reach out and help others. With all your experience as a therapist, I think you could really make a difference. I found a sort of niche after I was diagnosed with cancer doing a blog that features a tiny (3″) bear as a sidekick to the stories I tell. To my amazement, he has gotten a huge following and it’s really helpful to me when people write and say a certain post gave them a smile or helped them feel better.

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