October 22, 2013 at 7:08 am #44150Meghan Yule-RosenParticipant
I’m in an artist workshop and we recently explored a question that I just love. I’m interested in your answer.
What would your 80 year old self say to you about your life today?October 22, 2013 at 8:05 am #44155JohnParticipant
Dear John (30’s),
Looking back at my life, I spent too much time worrying about what other people think of me. I spent too much time thinking about whether or not I might be hurting someone’s feelings or disappointing them. I spent too much time worrying that I might reject someone, that I might not being doing the right thing, or not doing what someone else wanted me to do. I spent too much time worrying about what makes other people happy. I spent too much worrying if someone was going to like me or not. I spent too much time worrying if other people felt comfortable at and ease. I spent too much time feeling the pain, guilt, and shame of the past.
I spent too little time doing things such as enjoying myself and my solitude. Doing things for me because they made me happy. I spent too little time taking risks and trying things out to see if they fit.
If I could go back in time, then I would just take each day as it comes, for better or for worse, not always been driving so hard and fast towards something. I would talk more openly about my feelings, issues, problems, joys, and pains. I wouldn’t have held anything back for fear of seeming weak or like a failure or needy. I would have taken a few more slow breaths and enjoy each moment as it came. Even the more difficult ones. I would be open to not only giving love, but also receiving love and expressing my desire to receive love and my gratitude for having received it. I would treat people as my equals. Not above me. Not below me, but just a fellow human beings. I would stop comparing my life to other people’s and evaluating myself against others.
If I could do it all over again, I would reach-out and connect with others. Make time for others and allow them to make time for me. I would share more of myself with others – letting them know what I think and how I feel regardless if those thoughts and feelings only apply to a particular moment and don’t define me entirely as a human being.
I would want to be generous and help people. I want to give my time and attention to really get to know someone about who they are, where they have been, and where they might be going.
I would be myself in all the light and shadow that is there.
John (80’s)October 22, 2013 at 12:17 pm #44163Sapnap3Participant
As I look back on my 80 year journey, I wish I would’ve been kinder to myself. I wish I would see the beauty that was in me. So much of my time was wasted trying to find happiness outside of myself. I didn’t value myself enough to be picky about who I shared myself with, physically and mentally. I let one man after the other use me different ways and as it suited their lives. At times I felt like I had no value. All of this was my doing as I never appreciated the way god has made me. Over and over again, I picked the same friends and lovers with different faces. The same people who would “prove me right”. They were all proving my own belief that I wasn’t lovable. that I wasn’t worthy.
I wish I would’ve loved you and given you the love you never got from your family. I wish I would’ve spend more time re-parenting you and less time missing a man who was like every other man you thought you loved. I wish I would’ve given you the same compassion I gave everyone.
On a positive side, I am proud of your big heart. I am proud that even when you were dying inside, you put a smile on at least one person’s face, everyday. I am proud that you have the biggest heart. I am proud that you didn’t think ill of anyone for long no matter what they did to you. I am proud that you didn’t hold grudges.
If I can turn back time, I wish I can show you a mirror so you can see the depth of inner beauty.
SapnaOctober 30, 2013 at 11:58 am #44591LucyParticipant
Dear L (26),
You have spent a lot of time worrying about when this time, old age, was going to come. You spent a lot of time worrying about dying and not about living. You worry too much about boyfriends and assignments. You worked really hard, and forgot how to play. You spent a lot of time criticizing yourself, and not enough time loving yourself. You are beautiful. Not because the boys told you that you are, but because you are. You walk around so injured. Stop, just because bad things have happened to you, doesn’t mean you are broken. You are beautiful not broken. Stop trying to fix the ones who don’t want to be saved. Stop trying to save the ones who hurt you. Saving them won’t fix you. Spend more time on what makes you happy, and less time worrying about finding someone to make you happy. Stop covering up your scars. They don’t make you different or less than anyone else. Don’t believe everything you think, and don’t get so caught up in being sad that you forget what it’s like to be happy. Forget about dating. You spend so much time running after boys or running from them that your soul gets hurt. You don’t need them to define you, to make you feel love. Love yourself first. This life was never easy for you, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stop struggling. Stop the struggle it’s not worth it. When you get to be my age you will have wished you had let go of that struggle a long time ago. Drink less wine and more tea. Laugh more, cry less.. But don’t be afraid to cry. It’s okay to get down, just don’t stay there too long. They will beat you up, and they will hurt you. Don’t let that define you. You can’t let all your trauma define you. They did not take anything from you. You are a whole person. Remember that when the fragmented pieces of your soul ache. Hold on, it’s actually beautiful when you get to be 80. So flush the pills and dump the wine. It was never a good plan. You have a beautiful soul, and you have been through a lot. You are not a victim. So stop feeling that way. You have only ever survived, and that has only ever made you strong. Hold on child, it does get better. Chin up. I know it hurts right now, but you cannot lose hope. You have so many beautiful moments to live.
LNovember 2, 2013 at 6:43 pm #44769Sam TaylorParticipant
Dear Sam (20s),
Firstly, let me tell you what I am glad you did. I am glad that you started the path of self-improvement, you haven’t yet reached your goal yet, but that was never the point anyway. I am glad you see the value in having as few possessions as possible, even if your wife is constantly buying things, things are no more meaningful now than they were then.
With regard to what I believe you should improve, the list is endless, but here are the big ones. Stop being scared! Scared of what might happen if you actually live your life, nothing was ever as bad as you feared. Don’t be afraid to die, because if you’re not afraid to die then you’re not afraid to live. Think more of others, you were always too wrapped up in your own thoughts to be concerned with others, but actually, you need other people more than you’ll ever know. Exercise more, you know then as I do now just how important it is, it is so much more than a way to lose weight. Lastly, believe in yourself, you can accomplish far more than you would ever dream, the sky truly is the limit.
I wish I could tell you what life is like now, but that would be unfair, part of life is about discovery and never knowing what is round the corner. If you knew what will happen then you would get complacent and not live every day like it is your last.
All the best for the future.
P.S. Please stop eating the fat on your bacon and all those fried foods, around the age of 30 it all catches up with you and you have to do more running. Which we both know you hate!
What a fantastic idea this is, it really made me bring into the light things that I know I will regret when I’m older.