Hindsight. It’s a strange little word. It grew from a very literal definition, around 1806, meaning the rear sight of a gun, into a very figurative one by 1856, meaning the ability to tell, after the fact, what should have been. I suppose it still means the rear sight of a gun, but most English speakers would probably default to the more contemporary definition, and wonder what went wrong.
Foresight might be the antonym of hindsight, in more ways than one. It might even be the vaccine for hindsight. If you have foresight, there may be no need for hindsight. If you had the foresight, then the bad thing you need hindsight to see might not happen. Hindsight generally has a negative connotation, something didn’t pan out as you expected, and foresight, generally a positive one. I’ll take foresight over hindsight any day.
So far this year, I haven’t needed any hindsight. I had the foresight to forego any resolving or predicting or prognosticating at the beginning of the year. The days before this one unfolded much like this one, and much like the days to come will unfold. Since I had no preconceptions, the ups and downs, the ins and outs, are simply the present, requiring no hindsight, only present-sight (another new word?).
Since I have few expectations, events are not disappointing, so no hindsight is required. And if I’m able to mix in a little foresight, all the better. I’ll be doing all my hindsight in the car, in the rear view mirror.
Photo by Peter Marquardt via Wikimedia Commons