Lessons from my 17 Year Old Self

April 12, 2012 at 7:34 am | Posted in Life and Living | Leave a comment
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The saying goes, “hindsight is 20/20,” and many talk about going back in time with the knowledge they have later in life and re-living early years with said knowledge.  But what about all the things we have forgotten from our past, lessons and attitudes that, if we were to employ today, would actually improve our lives.

You know what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the loss of imagination, the carefree attitude, living without the fear of deadlines, heights, responsibilities, heartbreak; not caring about what other people think; not worrying about getting old — instead, looking forward to it.

I miss walking around the streets with nowhere to go. I miss being stuck in a small town and dreaming of one day getting out.  I miss laying in bed at night on the phone with a guy I am totally crushing on. I miss sneaking out.  I miss driving around with no destination, blasting music and hanging out with my friends.  I miss getting the older kids to buy us beer.  I miss trying things for the first time without fear of the aftermath.  I miss going on a rollercoaster without thinking of the small percentage of people who die on them every year.  I miss walking alone at night without the fear of being kidnapped.

I miss going out in my pajamas, throwing rocks at my friends’ windows.  I miss collecting candles, playing with fire.  I miss chasing boys just for the sheer amusement and not thinking about whether they are marriage material or not. I miss acting on emotion and no worrying about the consequences.

My 17 year old self was a free spirit. A determined young lady who had friends in all corners of the county. A social butterfly.  My 17 year old self had dreams and goals and enjoyed fantasizing.  My 17 year old self knew I had time to figure it all out and that everything would fall into place.  My 17 year old self enjoyed living in the moment.

29 year old me could learn a thing or two from 17 year old me.  Never be afraid to live, to make mistakes. Never feel like it’s over.  29 is young, and I’m sure one day, 39 year old me will need a lesson or two from 29 year old me.

What was I thinking?!?!

March 20, 2012 at 7:33 am | Posted in Life and Living | Leave a comment
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It typically happens while looking at old photos or videos, or reminiscing with old friends.  It’s that moment where you look at your former self with shock and awe, with one phrase in mind “What was I thinking?”

Maybe you are referring to the time that you died your hair purple, cut your own bangs, or got a perm.  Or maybe you are talking about some seemingly ill-informed fashion trends. Or maybe you are thinking of crushes you had, people you dated.  Or maybe you are thinking of the things you got into trouble for.  Whatever the case may be, it is so easy to sit here, years later, and say how stupid some decisions you made were.

But the truth is, not all of those decisions were bad decisions at the time, and many likely had no lasting consequences.  It’s also easy for some (probably insanely stubborn folk) to say that they have no regrets, but we are human. We have regrets.  We regret things we said, things we did, things we didn’t do.  We may obsess over the way a scenario played out from our perspective, how embarrassing it may have been, without ever knowing that other parties involved have a completely different memory of those events.

It’s not easy to remember how you were really feeling in the moment, what the circumstances were in that moment in time that led to the decision made.  It is so easy to judge in hindsight, and say how we would do things differently.  But I am a firm believer in everything happening for a reason, and beyond that, the role of timing.  Timing is everything.  There is a perfect storm for every occasion, a plan that goes awry, a split-second change of heart or turn of the wheel.

When I think about my past, I try to remember the various circumstances that effected the decisions I made.  I am comforted in knowing that, at the time, I made the best decisions I could make, and while I may have done things differently knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t have learned all that I have, I wouldn’t have the stories and the scars that I have now.

I try not to beat up on myself a lot.  I try to laugh at myself as much as possible.  We are all living this life for the first time (except for those who believe they were reincarnated).  All we can hope for is that, for the most part, we make the “right” decisions for us, in the moment that the decision needs to be made.  While every decision we make may not serve as a turning point in ours lives, it will likely serve as a way of shaping future perspectives, memories, and lasting lessons.

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