What would your 15-year old self say to You?
I remember feeling ‘old’ on my 18th birthday. I distinctly remember quacking away on the phone with a friend who felt the same way and mourning the end of our respective childhoods.
I don’t think we could imagine life after 25. 30 was not even on the radar.
Anyhoo, when a birthday rolls around, I tend to reflect a bit on the year gone by. Did I achieve something, was there some personal growth? What would I remember this last year for?
One tends to gauge success or progress with concrete Things. And most of us fall short compared to our own ever-moving benchmarks.
You have a great job, but your in-laws drive you up the wall. You just lost 5 kilos but discovered that a colleague routinely does 10 KM runs with barely a muscle pull. You finally own a house but it’s not as nice as your friend’s (who also got a better deal). Maybe you are still single while all your friends found ‘the one’ (or have married, divorced and married again, all the while you stayed single). You have the loving spouse and the 2 beautiful kids but you never have the time to travel to all those exotic spots that your Facebook Friends seem to visit at the drop of a hat.
Whatever cards life has dealt you, I guarantee that every-one has a wistful “What if” or “If Only” hidden behind their shiny, happy, social media pages. If you don’t, well…Congratulations to you and have a drink on me :)
Since I’m now officially older and wiser, I recently stumbled on another way of measuring success. And that is to simply answer the question “What would your 15-year old self think about you?”
At 15, we were optimistic, full of dreams and the world was our collective oyster. We were also judgemental teenagers.
So, if 15-year old You met the current You, would she/he think you were doing well? Or would they think you are an ass who needs to be taught a thing or two?
My life today bears no resemblance to how I had imagined it would be by this age. I’ve not hit some of the personal milestones I thought I would.
Yet I’ve done or experienced or witnessed some very interesting things that I could not even imagine back then. I’ve grown in ways that my 15-year old self would be scared to dream about (and I don’t mean the weight gain).
So I am pleasantly surprised and happy to report that if 15-year old Me met today’s Me, she would think ‘Man, she’s cool. I hope I grow up to be like her’.
There’s my advance Birthday present to myself :)
What do you think of this litmus test? Does it make you look at your life differently?