Be careful NOT to bring your past into the present. It's a clear sign of being stuck in realm of time that no longer exist!
When I moved back to L.A., back in with my parents, back to being single, I believed something akin to that statement. I felt like I'd completely wasted the last decade, and had accomplished nothing; except now I had debt and two kids to support.
Driving down streets where I'd thought my life would end up so differently was depressing for a long time. Look at who I was. Look at what I could've been. Look how much I screwed up my life, and now, the lives of my daughters. I did feel stuck.
Over time, after starting therapy, I was able to see it differently. I started searching for old friends from my former life. I wanted to remember who I was, and each connection brought me back to the person I was then, but better.
I was able to start re-building my confidence, but with a better awareness of my faults. I was able to connect more strongly with both old and new friends, but only after I knew I respected and trusted them. I was able to give my daughters a revised, yet stronger vision of family, now that we were geographically closer to my parents, my sister, and plenty of extended family.
And instead of looking back with regret, I look back with a stronger sense of self.
I am no closer to perfect today than I was then, but I have accepted who I am, while still having goals for improvement. I can laugh at the things I thought or said or did that was so stupid and naive, but I can also appreciate that my life up until 20 or so was pretty damn special. And by having memories of things like my 19th birthday in Bermuda, and seeing Les Miz on Broadway two months after it opened, and dancing at the Pantages, how could I possibly feel stuck or stifled now?
By appreciating the realm of time that no longer exists, I can better appreciate the realm of time today.
And, looking at it from another perspective, I hope that my girls will look back on this realm of time with appreciation, and feel like their past enhances their present.