One Step Forward, One Step Back

In discussing the final episodes of the series, Mad Men, one of the actors in the show – John Slattery – remarked upon how sophisticated it is that the characters’ storylines go hand-in-hand with reality, in that, despite an evolution among each character, there’s a tendency to revisit old habits.  Certainly, continued waves of personal/professional progress arise among most of the central characters.  But, there’s a sense that, no matter the expansion and/or refinement of a particular character on the show, regression occurs both readily, and often, enthusiastically.  In other words, one step forward… and a step or two back.

For a lot of people, there’s no truer sentiment than this.  We humans are creatures of habit, and probably often feel as though we are destined to repeat the past.  But I’d argue that, when it comes to  “upgrading,” we might subconsciously test ourselves (by falling back into old patterns) in order to determine if we can glean new perspective the next time.  I frequently use the phrase “look at – fill in the blank – through the rearview mirror.”  But, does that mean we never take the same route ever again?  That we never see that same scene staring back at us through the rearview mirror?  I don’t think so.  Inevitably (for most of us anyway), we end up on the same road, at least a couple of more times before re-routing completely.  We discover a better path, no doubt, but only after we’ve taken the same road a few times before.

This is reality.  We move forward, we move back.  And I would guess, that in moving back, we struggle to find out why and/or admonish ourselves to the fullest extent in having done so.  Maybe, though, we can agree that it’s a natural/likely scenario on the road to self-advancement.  So, the next time we feel as though we’re in the clenches of the past, we can take a deep breath and look forward to the step ahead again.

Written by Ann Kellogg, MS, LPC