What is this thing about not looking back? Does anyone really not do that? How do we know where we’re going if we don’t know where we’ve been? I was thinking about that a lot lately because, I guess you could say, I experienced a bad spell where I was way down in the dumps. Then I was at a meeting last week and someone started talking about Lot’s wife and not looking back. (BTW, I’m annoyed we don’t know Lot’s wife’s name.) I’d already been thinking about her.

The past twelve or so months have been trying to say the least. Not wanting to bore any readers with my sad story, suffice it to say, if I took a stress test, I’d score 100+.

Since I moved back from Mexico at the end of 2016, I’ve aimed to put out at least one book before the end of each year, but because of the issues in my sad story, I didn’t get one out before the end of ’23. So, what did I do? I set myself a goal, or you could say, a deadline of June ’24 to get that book out and the end of ’24 to get another book out I haven’t finished yet either.

I was feeling sorry for myself that so many issues were getting in the way on this book writing and publishing thing that I so often love. Frustrated. Then I remembered, at the end of each year I look at what I did or what happened in the previous year and what I want to do in the upcoming year. Like Janus. I hadn’t really let myself focus on that as much as I usually do, so one day I sat myself down and looked at what I’ve accomplished not just in the past year but in the past seventy-four (74) years of my life. I instantly felt better, especially when I didn’t turn into a pillar of salt.

I also felt better a couple of days ago, when I decided I’d probably quit getting headaches, some of which are migraines, if I quit overwhelming myself. I changed my deadlines and gave myself permission to change them again. I’m in this because I love it, and I don’t love it when I put unreal expectations on myself and cause myself to have a negative response.

By the way, did you know that if you go on YouTube and put in Don’t Look Back, you will find pages of songs that include Don’t Look Back In Anger. What is it about not looking back that fascinates people?

What a coincidence that I was reading about Janus, and to my surprise, I found a blog or essay or whatever the author called it about Janus, the god of writing. .

I’m saying look forward, but look back. See where you’ve come. See what you’ve accomplished. Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive—Elbert Hubbard. (Something I’ll be constantly reminding myself.)


Susan P. Baker is a retired judge, mother of 2, grandmother of 8, world traveler, author of 14 published books with several partials in her drawers—at least that’s what she used to say back when partials were printed out, before computers and the Internet. You can read more about her at






4 replies
  1. Gay Yellen
    Gay Yellen says:

    It’s hard not to look back. There are reminders everyday of lost loves, lost opportunities, old hurts, and regrets. Sometimes it takes work to focus on the joys: old friends, new friends, new chances to find meaning in life. Finding joy is a habit I try to practice every day, no matter what.

  2. Debra H. Goldstein
    Debra H. Goldstein says:

    Taking advantage of what has been accomplished is easier said than done when the mind only worries about the present and future if the present doesn’t move along.

  3. Mary
    Mary says:

    This is such a fascinating topic! As a clinical psychologist I always advise my clients not to spend too much time “ruminating,” endlessly going over past conversations, hurts and disappointments. But as Susan suggested, looking back can be a good thing if it reminds us of past accomplishments and can help us move to a happier future.

  4. Donnell Ann Bell
    Donnell Ann Bell says:

    How do you know where you’re going if you can’t tell where you’ve been? Thinking of you, Susan, and hoping your dry spell (and whatever’s blocking you) to a conclusion very soon.

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