If asked the question, “what would you tell your younger self?” most of us could easily come up with some piece of advice or even an entire handbook on what to avoid or consider. But what if you could sit down with your younger self and listen to what they have to say about how you are currently living your life?
Sure there are some perspectives that we mature out of for good reason but what about the parts of us that we’ve slowly abandoned due to societal pressures or expectations? Certain behaviors become judged as we get older, as we advance in our careers, as we become moms or dads, and as we become role models. Risk-taking, making a mess, spontaneous decision making, are just a few of the behaviors that we tend to eventually steer away from and then wonder why we long for a sense of freedom and adventure in our lives.
I regularly try to connect with my Higher Self in meditations or when struggling with something I ask, “what would my future self say to me right now?” but as I’ve been working on projects recently I realized that it’s my younger self I could glean something from.
When I was younger, I felt oppressed by my hometown and by how polarized my family was, so I moved 475 miles away, struggled to make it on my own but felt freedom and dignity for the first time! Thankfully, there was no social media back then so my family was only privy to the parts of my life that I chose to share with them. I’d always been a music fan, worked around live music, dated musicians and eventually wanted to have the experience of being a punk singer.
Who I am today would take the approach of learning and mastering an instrument, practicing with others, starting or joining a band, before nervously putting myself out there. Totally pragmatic & logical, right?
My younger self took a very different approach. I had a desire & I saw an opportunity to fulfill that desire, so I took it! I had never played an instrument, I had no band, I couldn’t sing but I put myself on the show lineup anyway and in following weeks proceeded to figure it out! I knew there was a solid chance that I would get up there and completely suck but my intention was to have the experience, not to be the greatest live music act.
You see, I’d seen a girl play guitar with ONE FINGER when I was at a music festival in Memphis, TN so I knew it was possible. I reached out to an old friend and asked him to teach me to play guitar with one finger because I’d booked a show. He laughed, was shocked and I think impressed by my audacity so he obliged and within a few hours, I was a guitar player! I then reached out to one of my favorite female guitarists at the time, who I knew casually but wasn’t sure she would really know me, and I asked her to join my band. Shockingly, she also said yes and again, I only think she agreed out of pure intrigue. My boyfriend at the time was learning to play the drums and so there I had it…a band with a gig!!
For the next several years, I played in a few bands none of them were necessarily good but they were all fun! They all lead me to have the experiences I’d craved. I wanted to know what it was like to front an all-girl punk band, I wanted to know what it was like to create with others, I wanted to know what it was like to go on tour.
I was a girl with only gumption. I had no talent or skills but I pursued my desire and it paved the way for a lot of other girls to tap into their creative gumption and have the same experiences.
I can feel my younger self challenging me to act with courageous gumption! What does your younger self desire for your life?