Now & Then: Advice to Your Past and Future Self
Because I’m still not over the fact that a new year has already fallen upon us (and I’m also not over the fact that it’s been almost a year since we graduated… NO), I still can’t help but reflect on 2015 out of the pure shock that it’s behind us now. What a major year this was for me: I (somehow) graduated college, moved into an apartment, got a big-girl job and experienced infinite laughs, loves, let-downs and lessons. So like every other year before this one, I found myself mentally making a list of all of the things I wanted to change about myself after the ball dropped. Past resolutions include eating healthier, exercising more, volunteering more, everything you've already heard before and everything I never actually do, etc.
But then I started wondering; if I could go back, to 2015 or 2014 or 2011 or 2006, what would I tell myself then?
In the end, would I have done it any different?
So I decided to put my senior-year newspaper class experience to the test and use my hard-hitting journalism skills (just pretend…) to ask the same question to those around me: What would you tell your past self?
"Don't let your fear or insecurities get in the way of your dreams." - age 52
"Don't allow yourself to get disappointed by having false hope on things." - age 25
"You're a kid. Quit the seriousness of life. It's meant to be full of playing for no other reason other than you want to play." - age 27
"Stop popping your collar." - age 22
"Be comfortable in your own skin so that you can be completely yourself in all of your friendships and relationships." - age 55
"Reach out and make a difference in the lives of others." - age 87
“Get applications done at least a week in advance.” - age 23
"Now knowing that I'm actually using my degree, I wish I put so much more effort into school and challenged myself more." - age 24
"I know you think you'll look cool with braces... you won't." - age 22
"It's okay to be different." - age 23
"Think smart." - age 35
"At least we're not at prom 2009..." - age 23
"Be more confident during high school." - age 19
"Those quirks they make fun of you for will be the reason someone will love you." - age 22
The past is a complicated demon; we yearn to relive it, we yearn to not repeat it. No one knows better than me how to overanalyze it (that's probably what I should have gotten my degree in), but strangely, that’s what 2015 is now.
So then I asked: What would you tell your future self?
"Don't ever forget your struggles." - age 30
"If you haven't quit smoking, it's time." - age 22
"I over plan and don't take advantage of the present as much, so I would tell my future self to cut it out." - age 22
"Never stop moving. Ever." - age 60
"It gets better." - age 50
"Focus on the good stuff." - age 24
"Keep going strong wherever you are." - age 23
"Stop fighting it. Whatever it is." - age 22
"Don't waste time worrying." - age 31
"Dear God, YES, don't waste time worrying." - age 52
"Leave room to mess up and have adventure." - age 23
"Make frequent trips to area casinos." - age 59
"There is always more growing to do." - age 25
"To be who I am now." - age 58
And my resolution (in a classic fashion of about two months too late) was this: stop making them.
Stop worrying so much about who you were and who you're going to be. Because who you are right now - whoever that is - it's enough. It was enough in 2015, and in 2014, and 2011 and 2006. And it will be enough in 2016.