What Would You Tell Your Younger Self?


I’m currently working on a book that has time travel as a central device. The story is about a character that finds a way to travel back in time and uses this ability to go back and try to change decisions that he made in the past and influence the course of his life.

Writing this book caused me to think about this phenomenon and the age-old question, if you could go back in time and give your younger self advice, what would you say or do?

I think my message to my younger self would vary based on my age at the time.

Infant Me:

Don_Baby_-_1963

At this age, there wouldn’t be much that I would tell myself. Whatever I would say probably wouldn’t have much of an impact. I was a fairly calm child that was a late bloomer in many things. I didn’t walk until I was 16 months old and my parents wondered if I would ever talk. Arriving at milestones later in life has been a common theme for me, but I’m okay with that.

Two-Year-Old Me:

My love for music started very early. My favorite instrument to play, the piano, would be something I would discover later in life. I dabbled with the guitar and drums at an early age and was focused on the accordion. It wasn’t until I was 10 or 11 that I began to play the piano,. I wish I had started earlier and would tell my younger self this.

Five-Year-Old Me:

Laurel1

I had an interesting childhood growing up on the Italian north-side of Syracuse, New York. We lived in a 100-year-old two-family house with my maternal grandmother. There weren’t many kids to play with so I was a withdrawn, insecure child. This was when I discovered my love of books and writing stories. I kept the writing to myself. This is one great regret. I didn’t let this part of my life blossom until I was nearly 50 years old. There were so many lost stories and so much lost time.

Fourteen-Year-Old Me:

This was a tough age for me. I spent a year in a body cast after spine surgery to correct a severe curvature. The surgery may have saved my life although I’m paying the price for it later in life. I was at my most insecure and depressed during this time period. It was my first year of high-school and I was extremely awkward. Music really got me through. If I could go back and talk to this kid, I would tell him to hang in there and that things were going to turn out okay.

1970s4Sixteen-Year-Old Me:

This was such a pivotal time in my life as far as career choices. I was in every conceivable music group in high-school and outside of school as well. I auditioned for, and was accepted at two great music schools. Then reality hit. My parents couldn’t afford the tuition and, despite some scholarships, I had to enroll in a community college and pay my own way by working as much as possible while going to school. This would cause me to abandon music for business school and not earn my bachelor’s degree until some 20 years later. If I could go back to this time, I would tell my 16-year-old self to hold fast to my dreams and find a way to do what I could to follow them. I took the safe path, but I could have taken a risk and I often wonder where my career path would have led. I would also tell myself to ditch the sweater vest.

Family007Twenty-Two-Year-Old Me:

I would change nothing at this age. I would just affirm with myself that at this time in my life, I made the best decision possible in marrying my wife, Caryn. She has stood with me for 32 years through good and bad times and we have made it through. When I look at her today, I still see that 21-year-old beauty that I married. I would, however, tell myself to get rid of the moustache.

me 40sForty-Year-Old Me:

This was a turning point for me as well. I had just earned my Master’s Degree and left the security of my long-time corporate job to work for a start-up company. It was one of the happiest work experiences of my life until it wasn’t. A year in, the company changed leadership and I found myself without a job with a mortgage and two kids. In hindsight, I would still go through the experience, but wouldn’t enter into it without a contract. My trust that my sweat equity would be rewarded was a bad gamble.

Conclusion:

As I look back, there were good decisions and bad along the way, but the net result is positive. The one regret is waiting so long in life to begin writing seriously. Writing a book on time travel caused me to do this introspection and, unlike my character, I wouldn’t change much in my past.

How about you? What would you tell your younger self?

 

 

39 thoughts on “What Would You Tell Your Younger Self?

  1. What a touching story, dear Don and what a good moral! Well… I believe that any event happens in time. And now I also know that too often we must wait for years for our dreams, goals or plans to come true. As our thoughts are seeds and only God knows when they will become plants. Do you know that those who start talking late are especially talented? My congratulations!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’d tell myself to enjoy sleeping and being able to relax while I can. The whole shoddy schedule of adulthood really takes you by surprise. Also, one has to be a little more proactive with the dreams. Waiting for the opportunity doesn’t really get you far.

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  3. I think that hindsight is a good thing but another minute is always another chance. The best piece of advice I would give myself would be to be more decisive. If you are decisive and dedicated which I try to be as best as possible then although I have only just published my first e-book, your goals become more realistic. Always keep your values at the forefront of your mind and never allow other people to dictate how you should be living your life, it’s yours not theirs and that’s all that matters.

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  4. This was a fabulous post, Don. I really enjoyed your look back at your various stages of life.

    I think I would tell my younger self to enjoy being a kid, and not trying to behave so grown up. Maybe that was a “girl thing” but it seems my friends and I were always wanting to be older than we were.

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  5. What an amazing post, a fantastic insight into your life and all you’ve been through and achieved.
    I am only 25, but I still feel like there’s so much I want to tell my younger self.
    My main one, would be, “you are smart.” In school I was constantly made to feel like I was stupid, because I struggled in some classes and was hugely shy and introverted, so too embarrassed to really apply myself. It wasn’t until I left school that I realised I had a passion for learning, and I’m now studying for a degree.

    I’d also say “time starts to move really quickly. Travel. Be brave. Be there for others, but always live your life for you.”

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  6. Great post, once again, Don. As for what I’d tell my younger self, I’m not sure. Maybe to remember that every bad thing that comes along is just that: one bad thing. It isn’t necessarily the end of the world. But mostly, I’d leave the past alone, mistakes and all, because those experiences (both good and bad) brought me to where I am today, and I’m good with that. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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