The survivor’s guilt of outgrowing your origins

And changing directions proudly

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Kanata, the thousand year old alien and spiritual adviser to the young jedi, makes a powerful point about growth in her famous call to adventure speech.

“Whoever you’re waiting for, she tells the young apprentice, they’re never coming back. The belonging you seek is not behind you, but ahead. Feel it. The light, it’s always been there. Let it guide you.”

This scene brought tears to my eyes. Because each of us hears a similar call. Some earlier than others, some louder than others. But everyone hears it.

Sadly, not everyone answers it. Only those who have the audacity to cut loose from the dead hand of the past, swing forward with all of their might and see what the future has in store.

That’s the thing about the mundane world. It has tons of sneaky ways of making us stay. Usually through projected feelings of guilt and shame and obligation. The chorus of community voices threatens us with the claim that we’ve grown too big for our britches and forgotten where we came from.

Look at you, mister big stuff. Who do you think you are?

But the past is never coming back. We don’t have to regret it or shut the door on it, but we do have to stay focused on the future to keep growing.

I once heard an interview with a highly successful screenwriter whose life, not unlike many successful artists, had grown more luxurious than his origins. And when asked if he ever went back to visit his hometown, here’s what he said:

You can never really go home. It’s not there anymore. The landscape is different. The people who defined it are no longer around. And when you return, you feel like a ghost. A skeletal version of yourself.

It’s certainly dramatic and morbid, but still accurate.

And so, if you’re still looking for something in you past to fulfill you; if there’s something you notice yourself reaching back for, hoping it will return, don’t hold your breath.

The past is never coming back.

Do you have any survivor’s guilt because you’ve outgrown your origins and have changed directions proudly?

* * * *

Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.

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