It’s not so much what would she say but more, would she listen?
I read many missives on the “younger self” and it occurred to me as much as there are elements of my younger days I might do differently, the truth is I am very happy when I reflect.
Could I have been more secure and self-confident? Absolutely.
Were there more adventures and risks I could have taken? Probably although I have come later to the party and understood the importance of finding adventure in whatever way makes you happy. Adventure is not defined by age.
Professionally, the career opportunities much more suited to me weren’t understood but fortunately, they arrived later. Creativity is never too late.
The reality is whatever we might tell our younger self doesn’t mean much because we are where we are and we should want to be our best selves at this moment. This is my goal for today and tomorrow and beyond that, what has been has already gone. Regret is a waste of energy and valuable resources and if we are practising my “better, not younger” philosophy towards ageing, there is no time for that.
My younger self might have had legs for days and a waist fit for Dior but she was shy and lacking in confidence. Today’s version might be the master in flattering fashion and the more conservative lines but is a far more interesting and self-assured woman. And she is much better company because she knows what she wants.
As a younger woman, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted.
Perhaps I had an idea of what I didn’t want but nothing was as clear as it is today. A younger self tries to please the people all of the time – the family, the friends and the partners. How many years are spent doing what we feel we should, rather than what we truly want? That is one of those realisations that occur with age and experience; at the time I wouldn’t have thought I was “working” for others first and myself last. I hope my daughters are more evolved and understand this question of balance better than I did.
Does a younger self even know what a balanced life means?
My “better, not younger” self gets this balance and has the wisdom to know its importance. Balance is the essence of a great life and the hardest element to get absolutely right. I don’t believe we can perfect it on a daily basis but I do try and trying makes it so much better. Every day we have a new opportunity to live as our best self, as long as we value that. We cannot change how we spent our past but we can revolutionise tomorrow.
What would I say to my younger self? Nothing much, she was too busy doing it her own way ;) xv
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image, roy lichtenstein, 1994