Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Talking to Younger Self


You’ve heard the question, no doubt. If you could tell your younger self anything, what would it be?

Process isn't just the thing. It’s everything.

I find it more relevant to tell my young’uns (the ones who are in my life and occasionally want to know what I think) that they are already living “the life.” This is it. Destination is the illusion. You never get there, unless by “there” you mean death, which we all get to.

It sounds grim but it isn’t. Goals are just a way to go, not a destination. This means there is no reality to the elation of reaching or deflation not achieving a goal, because we live on the road.

I know this feels counter intuitive to many who are raised to think of concrete goals.

Put another way, using the metaphor of a marathon for any goal— if I dream of becoming a marathon runner, the very act of training is the experience, the real thing. I will eventually run a marathon or not. Then the act of running is the thing. If I complete the marathon, that is the thing. If I don’t, I’m having that experience of something not completed, and it is the thing. In the rare event that I win the marathon, I’m experiencing that, and it’s the thing.

No matter what, I’m living the life. Younger self: this is it. The thing.


Kelly Hashway said...

So true! This is why it's important to live in the moment.

Katie L. Carroll said...

Always a good lesson to try and remember to be in the moment...something I personally struggle with.

Evelyn said...

Good reminder.

Vijaya said...

So true. Rainer Maria Rilke said it best in his Letters to a Young Poet: "Try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the question now."

Janie Junebug said...

Well said. If I could tell my younger self something, it would be Rely On Your Self.


MirkaK said...

In some ways, this could refer back to the question you brought up in last week's post. A friend asked you, in different words, whether you enjoy the process of writing. Anyone engaged in creative work knows that the process is the experience; the book, the painting, the sculpture--whatever--is the product. You can't have a product without going through the moment-by-moment process of creating it, whether it's reaching the end of a marathon or weaving a tapestry.

Goals are about imagining a possible future; process is about being in your life in the present. When we're not present with what is, right now, we actually miss the life we're living.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Profound and true. Good to teach your daughter early.