April 16, 2012

Craft Your Better Self: Advice for your future self

This months issue of  Oprah Magazine is about "If only I'd known then what I know now." Oprah, in true Oprah fashion, wrote a letter sharing all sorts of advice, warnings and hard-won wisdom to her younger self.

Honestly, I don't know if my younger self would have listened to its older-wiser version. Study harder, don't be so anxious to start your career, focus, take up guitar now 'cause it's going to be so much harder when you're older and lazier. My younger self was all over the place. I didn't know who I was or what I wanted to do with myself. I didn't realize an empire waist dress made me look ridiculous. I didn't know insecurity, imperfections, lack of self confidence were normal and how most people felt. Relax, chill, enjoy.  If I would have listened, that's the advice I'd have given myself. Oddly enough, I try and give advice to younger people today and they want nothing to do with me. Go figure.                                               

Rather than trying to give my younger version advice, I wonder, if my younger self would be happy how I turned out? Would that wrinkle-free teen look at me and say, "Oh, I love what you've done with yourself?" Or a sarcastic filled, "That's what you've done with yourself? kind of lame."

Overall I'm pretty satisfied. I became a super responsible adult; paid all of my debt, saved some money, invested in a 401k. I traveled to some cool places, lived in another country for a bit. I've found peace, love and more often than not I'm happy. On occasion, regrets, opportunities missed, "what if's" still ruminate in my thoughts but basically I've made good choices. I've surpassed some of my own expectations and in the same thought have come up short.

At this point, I'm less concerned about providing comfort to the teen I used to be than I am trying to gather words of comfort and wisdom from the 80 year old I might become.