Our previous work lingers, either nagging us for where we didn’t measure up or offering a standard to exceed in what we do next. It ought to be the latter, and as we grow we learn to accept that we’ve generally improved upon our previous selves.
Walking around the yard, I scrutinize the hardscape, for it leaves a lasting impression. I remember a particularly hot Father’s Day laying the brick patio, and a particularly challenging fence post hole when erecting the fence. I remember having the excavator I’d rented getting stuck in wet loam and having to call the rental place to help me tow it out, then scolding me for not renting a different tractor that could handle the conditions I was putting that Bobcat through. Life is a series of lessons.
Writing is the same. I have posts written long ago that receive likes today, prompting me to reflect on what I was saying at the time. Despite our best efforts we try not to repeat ourselves too often, but there are clearly themes running through this blog that regular readers may rattle off readily. Writing every day requires a steady consumption of new experiences, reading books of substance and a willingness to put it out there. Some posts were clearly works in progress when I click publish, some are more polished. All were my best available in the moment I had with you.
We can’t linger with our previous self when there’s so much living to do ahead of us, but we can glean lessons from our past. We can also celebrate the things that we did well. That brick patio turned out pretty well, and so did that fence (so long as you don’t look too closely). Some blog posts stand the test of time, while others fade away.
Our legacy is our work. It reflects who we were and the tools we had available at the time. So long as we did our best, we shouldn’t judge it too harshly. In our work we see the progression to where we are now. And maybe find insight into who we might become in the future.