How many times have you wished that you could change, alter or completely obliterate it and start from scratch?

What is it?

Try as you may, wish that you might, the past cannot be changed but to a large degree the future is not totally but largely within your power to effect.

Especially if you don’t just dwell on but instead take responsibility for your behavior that shaped your past.

Often in life it is vital to learn important life lessons from others in your circle like friends and relatives to the most involved love relationship that you have.

You can learn from their mistakes without experiencing the pain.

We know of someone in our circle who has experienced a great deal of pain in her adult life. The foundation that laid the liquid cement to dry for an early disappointing future was the family that she was raised in, where objectively speaking, she was neglected by her parents. article, bruce mars photo credit

She was often the object of their scorn because she was the teenager who rebelled against their wishes when it seemed appropriate to do so while her sibling was the good kid who essentially did everything that her parents told her to do.

This strained the two sister’s relationship.

As they aged they were not close but when it came time to sell their parent’s paid off home because one had passed away and the other was deep in dementia, they didn’t see eye to eye on the process and like many family situations when it appears that a large amount of money could be at stake, they were so much at odds, that it appeared legal action was the only recourse.

Our friend Nicole was very suspicious of her sister’s behavior which she would later find out was eccentric but not devious and when they finally had a chance to do a sit down and have a heart to heart talk, to Nicole’s shock, she discovered that it was she who was not seeing things correctly.


Because of all the completely awful so called friends and personal family members over the years who were devious and, by anyone’s standards, brought extremely bad things into Nicole’s life.

Fortunately, present company is not included.

From our perspective what was so sad about Nicole’s young life was that in her teens and early twenties, she was a rising star, no make that super star, but because of the lack of direction from her parents, she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with her life.

Then she found organized religion.

It was the typical cliché of a young person seeking a family to replace the dysfunctional one that they escaped.

That is when the slow decline began.

After working through and paying for her own college education because her well-off parents refused to do so, she accepted a horrible low level professional job with good benefits to spend more time in the outreach work of her international faith and eventually married the wrong person in large part because of her new belief systems.

If you truly knew all of the details it was a very sad and extremely depressing story but way too long to tell here.

Many of her then close friends were older which can be a blessing or an extreme curse.

If they are people of right heart who truly want what is best for you and try and ascertain what you as a young person truly want to get out of life, they will use their experience to help steer you in that direction and connect you with people who can enhance your ability to ascend to the future you so desperately desire.

That does not describe Nicole’s friends.

They were the other kind.

They saw Nicole as someone to influence, use and take advantage of for their own purposes including the leadership of her religion.

At some point in her forties, Nicole’s life began to crash and burn as a result. At one descending intersection she seriously thought about suicide.

This is what colored her distrust of her sister.

Because of her past and the myriads of awful predatory people that she seemed to attract, especially when it came to getting to her money, Nicole became distrustful of virtually everyone.

What helped her reconcile with her sister?

Nicole had to accept a very important premise and life lesson in question form, some of it with our help, as real friends.

Who allowed those despicable people, with a smile, into her life?

She did.


It was because she really didn’t know what she wanted out of life when she was young so she allowed others to shape her future for her which was absolutely not in her best interest.

In her June 30, 2014 article titled 6 Ways To Take Control in Psychology Today, Ms. Abigal Brenner M.D. makes a very good point in this regard. “Sometimes, we trust other people more than ourselves, accepting another’s opinions and views as more valid than our own. Somehow, we think they know what’s better for us than we do—or we’ve been told that so often that we come to believe it. It’s frequently the early influence of our family that sets this scenario in motion.

The bottom line is that by not taking responsibility for ourselves, we too often allow others to take responsibility for us. And in doing this we are essentially giving them permission to take charge of our lives.”

As Nicole found out the hard way, there is an enormous price to pay for giving your life away in this manner. It eventually is no longer your life but instead someone else’s projection of what they think that your life should be while they personally benefit along the way.

How do they justify what they do?

If Nicole is stupid enough to allow it to happen, that’s her problem.

Some friends huh?

Now at late middle age, the first step for Nicole was to re-evaluate what type of people she would allow in her life but most important, take the time to define what she really wanted out of life as she reaches the second and final part.

The good news is Nicole now knows what she wants out of life and is willing to take the steps, make the sacrifices and take the risks that will help her reach her desired destination.

“We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future.”…George Bernard Shaw

We can see that she is a changed person.

Simply put, even with its flaws, Nicole is now in charge of her own life.

She is taking control of it.

The starting place for change was that Nicole had to take responsibility for her past by learning from it without continuing to blame others.

When she was young, she didn’t know what she wanted out of life and no matter how many civilized smooth talking predators helped her dig her grave, she was the one that allowed them to do it.

That was step one.

Fortunately, though not completely there, Nicole appears to be on the way to a much more happier and rewarding life and even though it came very late, at least it did.

Better late than never.

Of interest to us is how the journey and not the destination is changing her. One of the great benefits is that she found out her sister was indeed eccentric but very honorable. The two sisters are slowly and carefully becoming closer as they take care of their remaining parent together.

Nicole has found that experience alone very enriching. article, joenibraw photo credit

In our minds, Nicole’s story speaks to not taking enough control of her future while she was young.

That is a very important lesson.

No matter your age, but especially when you are young, it is important to take the time, do the research and try and define what you really want to occur in your future.

Do you want to own your own house, paid off by 50? Perhaps think of a 15 year loan instead of a thirty. What kind of career do you want? How much money do you hope to make? What kind of person do you want to spend the rest of your life with?

Take your time and think about it.

Going to older persons who may have their own agenda and belief systems may not be the solution. Just because they are older doesn’t make them wiser. Sometimes just more clever and selfish.

It is up to you to take control of your own future.

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”…William Shakespeare

We thought about this after participating in what we love to do which is to go to the movies. It’s enjoyable in the sense that you can learn important lessons from someone else’s experience without getting burned yourself.

Whoever said that experience is the best teacher is probably in therapy.

Pregnant At Seventeen is another Lifetime Movie thriller and yes at times is preposterous and predictable but still enjoyable to watch in part because of what occurred in Nicole’s real life experience.

Here is the storyline. “After witnessing a brutal crime, things are finally starting to look up for 17 year old high school dropout Chelsea. She’s fallen madly in love with Jeff, an older and accomplished man who is promising to give her the life she can only dream of; there’s only one hitch…he’s still married! To make matters worse, Chelsea finds out she is pregnant and Jeff wants nothing to do with the baby.”

The operative word here is that Jeff is older, manipulated a 17 year old for his own sexual pleasure but the pregnant teen has to live with the consequences.

What makes this film worth watching is the acting of Zoe De Grand Maison. article, Lifetime Movie photo credit

Zoé De Grand Maison is a Canadian actress. She plays Gracie Johanssen in the television series Orphan Black. She also plays Ashley in the movie Bad Hair Day.

Her acting in Pregnant At Seventeen is so endearing that you can really feel for her even though she is the classic teen who is not taking control of her future but instead is allowing it to be affected and shaped by others.

She hasn’t planned for her college education, she doesn’t know what career she wants and she is under the illusion that a married man will leave his wife for her.

Yes, we’ve heard it all before. It is a tale as old as the hills but still sometimes reminders are helpful.

No one has complete control in life. Thinking that you do is an illusion. Having said that, this is probably one of the most important self-reflection conversations you should have with yourself.

What do I really want out of my life right now?

What steps can I take to get there?

How do I control my own destiny?

Our suggestion?

The younger you are when you have this conversation, take it from Nicole………

The better.

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Opening photo bruce mars photo credit