Written by 9:12 am Health / Wellness

The Power of Hindsight

the power of hindsight

Do you ever find yourself looking back or reflecting on your life?  

More specifically, do you ever recall a particular incident or experience from your past and realize that you feel differently about that incident or experience now compared to how you felt about it when it happened?  

No, it’s just me.  

Well, I found myself doing just that recently. I’ve written about this before, but let me reiterate a few of my personal beliefs.  

I genuinely believe that everything, and I mean everything, happens for a reason.  

Part of that belief is also the knowledge and understanding that I may not know the reason when I want to know, and sometimes, I might never know the reason.  

However, another part of my belief system is that my destiny belongs to me and is controlled by me. Don’t get me wrong, I strongly believe in a higher power, an infinite power that guides, educates, empowers, and strengthens me, but ultimately, I am aware that I am in the driver’s seat when it comes to my life. 

The Clarity of Hindsight 

Where am I going with this? The point I will inevitably make is that sometimes when we look back on our life, we have the benefit and newfound asset of hindsight. We get to look at that particular incident or experience through a new lens.  

As you grow, you change; as you change, so does your view of the world. Let me get super real and share a very specific example with you.

When I was a young girl, I had a laundry list of chores that were my responsibility. Now, let me also provide context here. I grew up as the oldest of five kids. As I got older, my chores grew along with me.  

By the time I was in high school, my chores looked somewhat like this: 

  • Get up at the ass crack of dawn to feed and water approx 23 hunting dogs. (This included sometimes cleaning out the kennels and adding new hay.)
  • Prepare breakfast and lunch for siblings.
  • Take out the trash.
  • Do my laundry.
  • Clean my room and my sibling’s room. 
  • Pick up siblings after school.
  • Mow the yard
  • Weed eats the yard.
  • Collect cans from our dumpster (we had a mechanics-type workshop)

I know I am leaving some out, and if you were to ask my 15-year-old self, she would say I am missing a whole bunch.  

That’s my point, though. When I was 15 years old, I thought I was being abused, in a sense. I didn’t see any of my friends having chores like I did.  

From Teenage Resentment to Adult Understanding

I remember one time in particular when I wanted to go to the movies on a weekend. My dad made me weld a trailer; yes, you heard that correctly; I had to weld a trailer bed down before I could go to the movies with my friend. I would write poems about how hard my life was and even started writing a book about my struggles. 

Can you believe that? 

This is a simple example, but the concept is still the same. 

At age 15, if you were to ask me about my upbringing, I would have reflected on the example above and led you to believe that my life was awful and that my dad was an evil dictator. 

If I did the exact reflection around 25, I start viewing things differently.  

Around the age of 25 or so, looking back on that same scenario, I was able to start seeing how those chores taught me work ethic and drive. However, at 25, it would have sounded more like this. “I had a rough upbringing.  

I had to work super hard for it. My dad was so strict and tough and forced me to do things that boys and men should be doing.”.    

Don’t get me wrong, this particular realization made me feel a sense of pride. I was able to recognize that I had a work ethic instilled in me. At this age, I realized that although I lived in what I thought was a man’s world, it was mine for the taking.

The Evolution of Perspective with Age

Let’s keep going, though; I am still aging, so my thoughts, ideas, and beliefs are also evolving. Around the age of 35, a major shift happened in me. Let’s call it a paradigm shift because it was a very drastic shift.  

I understood that I might have been a tad dramatic as a teenager. Right? You know what I’m talking about making a mountain out of a molehill. Looking back on those chores, I started to have a deeper recollection,  

I didn’t get up at 4:30 every morning to feed the dogs, although, at 15, that was how I remembered it. I didn’t make breakfast and lunch daily for my siblings, but I did that quite often. I also didn’t clean my sibling’s room very often, but I made a huge deal about it when I had to. My younger self felt it was “unfair.”

You see, I started to understand that how I remembered it back then wasn’t how I remember it now, and with that, I could look at the entire situation completely differently. Here is what I have fully realized today, at 43 years old, regarding my “chores” as a child.

Getting up early and caring for the dogs created a bond between me, nature, and animals. I learned that the animals could not take care of their own well-being. Therefore, the role I played in their life was a critical one. 

Still, to this day, I love animals, all animals, aside from really large spiders. I also became a morning person, which has served me well.

Motherhood and Independence

Preparing meals, helping clean my sibling’s room, and picking the siblings up after school prepared me for motherhood. As a teenager, I never wanted kids. I think that was partly because I viewed those things as chores. Now, I am a mother of two wonderful kids; one is 20, and one is 7. 

I know I’m a glutton for punishment, but the reality of the situation is I was never scared to become a parent. When I got pregnant with my son, there was no moment of what to do. I knew exactly what I needed to do because I had helped to raise babies since I was three years old. 

All the chores, like mowing grass and taking out garbage, just prepared me to live independently. I have lived independently since the age of 18, and I don’t think I would have been as successful living on my own had I not had the experiences I had growing up.  

Even welding the trailer to go to the movies had a major lesson to it. Yes, I had to weld a trailer 

at 16, but I received a crisp $100 bill once I was done.  

First off, what 16-year-old needs a $100 bill to go to the movies?  

Secondly, it was 1997; I think the movie might have cost only $5 if that even. That lesson was the value of hard work. I put in the effort; therefore, there was a reward.

My hindsight and realizations have allowed me to appreciate my upbringing. Instead of feeling bitter, scorned, or abused, I feel that I was raised with one specific goal: to become a high-functioning, productive citizen. 

I hope when my dad looks back; he feels a sense of pride for raising a woman who overcame obstacles surrounding gender discrimination. 

A woman who has a work ethic that rivals most men.

A woman who is independent, self-sufficient, and not afraid to go after anything.

Trusting Life’s Unexpected Paths

I hope as you read these final words, you are also thinking back to a circumstance, situation, or experience from your past that you once didn’t understand. 

Your new lens allows you to see more clearly how that experience has helped to guide you to where you are today.  

Remember, you may not understand now, but there will be clarity one day. 

Maybe you decide on a whim to move to another state, only to find ten years later, you meet your soulmate right there in the very state you so randomly decided to move to.  

Trust yourself and watch how the universe provides.

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Last modified: January 8, 2024