Banish the 4 Most Dangerous Words

Jill Ocone
May 15, 2016 · 3 min read

On my 45th birthday in February of this year, I held a little ceremony where I wrote down all of the things I regretted, bad decisions from the past, everything that made me feel bad about myself…you get the idea. I put them in an envelope, which I then shredded. It felt great to officially say “goodbye” to the past.

I was set free.

Or so I thought…

Since then, I have been much better about not letting my past get me down. I’ve made progress towards living in the moment while planning for the future. In fact, I would guess that I am 93% successful in not letting my past affect my present.

Except when the 4 most dangerous words creep in.

When they do, and it’s usually when I least expect it, my mind starts playing its movie of imagined events.

Then my “head hamster”starts running backwards in his wheel, and my thoughts turn around and run towards the past.

And I’m lost again. For a while.

When I regroup, I am very disappointed in myself.

Here I was, on my birthday, acting all tough when I said goodbye to regret and to the past, and what did I just do? Allow the past and my regrets back in, turning my good energy into bile!

Dammit, why did I let that happen?

Because I’m human, that’s why.

The truth is, with a self-estimated success rate of 93%, I’m doing a hell of a lot better than I have in the past (the past affecting the past…somewhat ironic!).

There was a time when I allowed the past to control me and bring me down all of the time. I couldn’t escape its poisonous grasp. I felt doomed forever, unable to break free from the chains of regret and remorse.

And it was all because of those 4 most dangerous words:


Those 4 words cause nothing but misery and sadness, and most importantly, they waste my time and energy.

While I might not be where I thought I’d be at 45 years old, I am where I SHOULD be.

Every path, every decision, every step has led me here. There’s a lot more of life to be had and living to do, as long as I banish those 4 most dangerous words from my vocabulary, and replace them with


For example, the old me would have said, “I might have been a writer.”

But you know what?


That IS what IS, and it’s what I WILL BE.

Living in the present, a.k.a. WHAT IS, will allow me to appreciate the moments of today. There’s no more worry, no more lost time, no more gloom and doom. Rather, it’s taking in each moment spent with nature, with family, with friends, and with myself. It’s allowing the rain to hit my face, to feel the ocean on my feet, and to experience LIFE and all of its grandeurs.

While there’s always a “to do” list, I will no longer allow anything that sucks my soul dry to be written on that list. That IS what IS.

I will be mindful today while striving towards what I want MY future to be, a.k.a. WHAT WILL BE.

And you know what? It’s okay if I don’t exactly know what or where that is yet.

I’m definitely on the right path. I feel it with every part of my being. Each and every step makes the journey meaningful, adding richness and color to the quest of life.

The old me would have been filled with fear when looking at a future that was uncertain and shaped like a question mark.

Instead, I now see uncertainty as exciting.

I’m ready for the adventure of life and every experience it brings.

That IS, and it will bring me to WHAT WILL BE in the most glorious way possible.

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