Don’t make the mistake of living in the past


Advertise with us

Dear Money Lady Readers,

Today I want to tell you a story about my brother, who has given me permission to share it because he has moved out of province to start over and is doing very well. In fact, he is doing exceptionally well.

He agreed to let me share his story with you because like everything in life, there is a lesson to be learned from it. Of course, some of the details have been changed to keep his identity private.


Life will hurt you, but you only hurt yourself if you constantly replay a loss. Create your future from what you focus on right now.

So, let’s call him George. George worked as a teacher and to make extra money he began a tutoring business for teens and young adults. He had been doing this for a few years when one of his new teenage students sued him for sexual assault.

This quickly became an ongoing nightmare for our family and essentially ruined his new career and ultimately his life. Police came to the high school where he worked and arrested him and led him handcuffed out of the school to the police station to be processed. He pleaded not guilty and was released, but the damage was done. His great reputation in his small community was instantly ruined, he was branded a sex offender, and became unemployed since no one wanted to be associated with him. Even his son, who was in Grade 9, felt the effect. In fact, things got so bad for him that his parents pulled him out of school for a year due to the constant harassment.

George’s wife continued to work but barely managed to support their family. They went through all their savings, ran up every credit card they had and maxed every line of credit they could get. They were living on the edge for the four years leading up to the trial. I am pleased to say that George was exonerated, the young woman recanted her story — but the trail of destruction was irreversible.

It was up to George, his wife, and their son to rebuild their lives. Their son did — he went on to university, moved away and had a good career. But George could not get past this incident and held on tight to the despair, anger, and rage it caused. Five years passed, then 10, then 15, and George was still in deep depression. He never again as a worked as teacher. He and his wife lost everything. They sold their home to payoff legal fees and debts.

I am sure there are many readers with similar stories of people in their lives who have had to suffer. Whether from divorce, a death, career failure, or financial ruin, the shame and despair can be overwhelming. Life is risky and we all know that we don’t always win at everything we try. In the moments of hardship, you often cannot see the way out.

Please believe me when I tell you that the failure is not in the falling down, it is in what you do after. For George, the failure was making the choice to stay buried in the shame of the past and not having the strength to move past it. The failure was staying in a community that never really accepted him again instead of moving to another location to start over. The failure was in never trying to begin a new career, not working, allowing his partner to carry the full burden of financial support, and in allowing a past circumstance to ruin his life for so many years.

We cannot waste the lives we have by living in the past. Every time George replayed the memory of his loss, he hurt himself again with it. I know this is hard. Life will hurt you, but you only hurt yourself, repeatedly, if you constantly replay a loss. We must stop reliving negative experiences. Create your future from what you focus on right now and let the past remain in the past.

Only then will we become truly successful. Remember, success is not a place you get to; it is a state of mind you live in.

Christine Ibbotson

Christine Ibbotson
Ask the Money Lady

Christine Ibbotson is an author, finance writer and national radio host, now appearing on CTV Morning Live, and CTV News@6.  Send your money questions through her website at 

Report Error Submit a Tip


Advertise With Us