Every morning I reflect on some thought in an effort to start the day off right. Well, right for me. I write it down and next thing I know, pages are covered in my thoughts. And somehow today’s thought spiral got me from red flags to retirement. Allow me to explain.
Red Flags at Morning, A Girl’s Wisdom is Forming
I know that’s not quite how the saying goes. But it seems to be most applicable to my journey. Especially from my landlocked position. Anyway, I was trying to shake the haze from my brain just as the dawn was peeking over the horizon, and I thought about the life I had left behind. As I looked back over the years of where I’ve been I realized that I was no longer the same person, not even slightly. And all of the red flags I ignored along the way were prophetic. Each ending they warned of still came to pass, despite my best (and worst) efforts.
The truth about red flags is whether we heed them or not, it never truly matters. Because on one hand we would miss out. On the other hand, frustration, disappointment…but perhaps the potential for some great sex. No wonder I always ignore them. Alas, red flags are fateful prophets. Whether we want to admit it or not.
Red Flags’ Silver Lining
Many of us are probably able to relate to a red flag’s call to adventure. The flag leading the way to some worthy battle. If won, the spoils would surely be grand. But truthfully –
It seems a bit dreary to think that once a red flag is raised that there is no alternate ending, save defeat. But take comfort in knowing that there are millions of possibilities for a red flag to sort itself out. In my case, I always went for the biggest red flag to conquer. Most likely to prove some sort of worthiness. And we all know how that turns out. Which is probably why I have few outer victories to show for ignoring red flags. But there is one thing which I have proven worthy of receiving, despite my willful abandon. Something more valuable than any momentary reward. And that is the wisdom for having the experience. And wisdom is the red flag’s silver lining.
Wisdom to leave the past behind.
Retiring The Past
I cannot honestly say that I’ve learned much from the scenarios laden with red flags. They’re so tightly tied to emotions that they could, quite possibly, be impossible to heed. And honestly, what fun would that be? It sounds a bit masochistic, but ignoring red flags definitely decorated my life with some serious passion and decadent experiences.
But a happy consequence of enduring and surviving the heartbreak of ignoring red flags is extracting the lesson. Adding to your wisdom for having endured. And then finding a place for each of these scenarios in your past. And leaving them there. But this isn’t to say that you are “quitting” your old ways. Leaving them behind, never to return again. Quite the opposite.
Life Out of Sequence
My ex loved dramatic examples of things. (No red flags there.) He’d always say things like “Move on and never look back.” As though we are capable of quitting our past. It sounds bold and fearless. It’s not. It’s dumb. We can never escape our past in such a way. And why would we want to deny ourselves our history? Something about “doomed to repeat it,” comes to mind.
Sure, we may have learned some painful lessons by ignoring red flags. And we might not want to look back right now. But “never looking back” is impossible. Life happens out of sequence. We can heal the past in the future. But only if we leave a place for the past in the present. *Brain Bend*
So instead of “never looking back” I have come to think of my past as retired. A past with an open door policy.
To Quit is To Surrender Wisdom
Retiring the past is to simply embrace that a phase has been completed. We no longer seek to justify ourselves or chase a different outcome. Nor do we seek to erase it. Simply accept it and embrace its essence in the present moment. It played a role in this person we call “me.”
Truthfully, if we could “quit” our past, we would surrender access to the wisdom the past holds. So once a phase reaches its natural end, retire it. Let the past rest. Be patient and let wounds heal with time. This approach grants you unabridged access to the wisdom within all you have experienced when you need it.
Visiting the aftermath of ignored red flags isn’t desirable. But it does encourage growth. So have faith that your wisdom will rise to the surface once the seas have settled.
As For My Red Flags…
Despite having gone through some ridiculous scenarios, all of my own making by ignoring red flags, I’m not inclined to say that I’m now more likely to heed their warnings. What I can confidently say is that I’m aware of how simply being able to recognize red flags is proof of wisdom gained. And that wisdom is helping to mature my instincts. Whether I listen to them or not is an entirely different story.