Have you ever wondered what would happen if there were a time warp and two versions of yourself were able to meet? Perhaps a younger version of yourself could meet the current you? Or the current you could meet an older version of yourself?
I often wonder what would happen if my 25-year-old childless, unmarried self could meet the nearly 35-year-old married mother of two that I am today. Would we even recognize each other? Would we be friends? Would we even like each other? What advice would we give each other?
I have no doubt that the current me would have found the younger version of myself to be a pretty fun person. I also have little doubt that I would find her to be a bit frivolous, naïve, and selfish. I may even look at her and think “You are not cut out for this.” I would doubt her ability to survive post-partum depression after the birth of her first son with her marriage still intact and her child healthy and thriving. I would doubt her ability to endure three consecutive miscarriages while keeping her heart, mind, and faith relatively unscathed. I would doubt her ability to get by on just a few hours of sleep for days or weeks at a stretch. I would doubt her ability to listen and respond to two children telling two different stories at the same time. I would doubt her ability to calmly clean up the vomit that was just spewed on her by her son without throwing up herself. I would think (though I probably wouldn’t actually say, unless she caught me on a really bad day): “Think again. You don’t have what it takes.”
I am just as sure, however, that my younger self would have looked at the current me and thought, “When I am a mother, I will do things differently.” I will easily birth and raise four kids without missing a beat, instead of realizing that two is all I can handle. I will not let my son carry a blankie and suck his thumb when he’s five years old. I will take a proper shower in the morning and get dressed in “normal people” clothes, instead of considering dry shampoo and deodorant to be an adequate daily cleansing. My children will be clean and well-dressed, instead of going out in public with dried snot and marker covering their adorable little faces. I will not lose myself and my identity to the role of “mom.”
Regardless of different expectations and goals at various stages in my life, the fact is that we are different people at different times in our lives, with each version being equally necessary to the survival and fulfillment of the whole person. We grow and learn. We realize that we are capable of so much more than we ever thought when we are actually confronted with a difficult situation. And we realize that our ideals and visions for the future must change, grow, and evolve.
I like to think that ultimately the younger and older versions of me would be friends, despite wholly dissimilar personalities and lifestyles. I like to think that my younger self could learn something about patience, flexibility, and open-mindedness from the current me; and I know that the current me could certainly learn something about laughter, confidence, self-worth, and silliness from my younger self.
Maybe I’ll call her up and we can go out for a drink tonight.
- Cultivating the Friendship Garden (randomreflectionz.com)