Wish* On this last day of the month, a day after my 48th birthday, I have been thinking about the often employed device or trope of “Advice to my younger self.”
How many times have we said or heard, “If I only knew then, what I know now, I would…”?
“I would have/should have…” and the answers we give are as many and varied as we are ourselves.
On the one hand, I can see this as a cathartic exercise, and I have written that note to the 13, 16, 19-year-old me:
“Don’t be so serious.”
“Have more fun.”
“Just tell them, ‘The hell with you. I’m doing it my way.'”
Each time I did this, it was a way for me to relive my life with a different ending. But, it was never satisfying. It was like an admission that I’d somehow screwed up or had a life that had been “less than” in some regard. And nothing could be further from the truth.
For those who find meaning and understanding in this pursuit, I say, continue and discover the reward that it offers. For myself, at this point, and to be quite indelicate, I call bullshit.
In this moment, right here, with all that I know and feel, I can say that I am who I am because of all of the experiences I have had. I would not have this “wisdom” without having lived those experiences.
In my opinion, words of wisdom have little impact without having lived them. And, though I want to spare any and all the pain of suffering or hard lessons, I would not wish to save them from the moments of realization that occurred as a result.
I believe we are here to live and learn and grow.
To my 13, 16, 19, and all other former selves I want to say, “You are doing a stellar job! Wouldn’t change a bit of it.”
*Wish is the last entry in the InventCalendarf 2015