I don’t know about you, but when I was 18, the world was my oyster. I was working a full-time job that I enjoyed, going to school full time, making music with my band and ready to take on the world.
Little did I know that only a few years later, I would allow circumstances of life to completely derail me from my original plan. I hadn’t suffered any huge losses yet. Failures hadn’t convinced me to give up on the future I had mapped out.
I was fearless. Bold. I didn’t give a shit about what people thought and I was going to change the world.
Self-Doubt wasn’t a thing, because up until that point, my main influencers had only built me up to believe that I could accomplish anything.
I had many late night conversations with friends about how we would travel and change the world. We somehow convinced others of the same.
Until more recently (and I am 31 now), I had shoved that person into a dark corner and told them not to come out and play anymore. She was a blind and naive person. One who allowed a lot of pain and suffering to be brought into my life. She allowed me to experience moments of being stripped completely raw of my identity and to feel completely ashamed and embarrassed because of rash decisions.
And because life didn’t go at all the way that she had mapped out, she was revoked the privilege of being able to make anymore future plans.
Here I am, in my 30’s, wishing I would have allowed her to escape that pit much sooner. That I wouldn’t have allowed failure and disappointment to snuff her out as much as it had. But merely taught me caution; not complete avoidance of aspirations. Only small glimpses of her have been seen over the past 7 years.
A few days ago somebody told me they recognized her. They used the word “courage” to describe me. I knew it was her that they might have caught in a rare moment.
The truth is, I need her. Even more so than ever before. Mostly, because now I know that I am able to overcome. I am able to continue moving forward. I can get up after a fall and dust myself off. I can learn to love again after heartbreak. She does not need to be silenced. Rather, she must be heard. She can continue alongside the fear and alongside the hurt. Because, regardless, those other things will continue to exist. It’s just time now, to discover how they will all work together.
In response to my friend who called me “courageous,” I said, “thank you, but most of the time I actually feel really scared.”
Scared that people won’t hear my message. Scared others will misconstrue my tone. Scared that all of my efforts are in vain.
But as I have shared in a previous post, I have learned to “do that shit afraid.”
Courage is NOT the absence of fear.
And so I will reach out to my 18 year old self a little more often, and let her remind me that the world is still my oyster. This is still my life and I can control it and do whatever I desire, regardless of my age, life experiences, let downs, set backs or failures.
She has a lot to teach me. I just need to be willing to listen.
*What about you? How often do you visit your 18-year-old self? If you haven’t in a while, what would they remind you of today? Please share in the comment section below.*