Have you ever looked back at old photos of yourself?
You pour over old shots of you smiling, making a funny face, downing a drink, or wearing a specific outfit. You reminisce about that time, consider what you were thinking, who you were with, and why you chose to look the way you did.
I rarely look back this way. I get sucked in and too critical of myself. The younger version of me never considered the older version judging my actions. Even now, when someone snaps a picture, I never worry if my future self would approve. I was just living the way I wanted to, happily, smiling, hair waving, just like always.
Today, I flipped through the old albums. Facebook makes it much too easy. I came across this gem, my junior yearbook photo, 6 years ago. I think about all the worries in my life then. In my popped collar and my slip on vans, the most important thing to me was if I remembered to do my AP US History worksheet or if I was going to be late for homeroom.
After last week’s post about talking to your future self, it made me think more about what my past self would have thought of me now.
The L.L. Bean backpack toting, nerdy note taking, quirky teenager isn’t far off from where I am now. I just traded in my backpack for a cross body purse and my notes for typing mindlessly on the computer.
Before college, you don’t seem to be able to picture yourself after it’s all over. The huge mountain of college life seems to obstruct your visual field and makes it impossible to see beyond your fears and excitement.
Before college, you chose what you could imagine a person similar to you enjoying. You chose what you thought sounded “cool” and “unique”.
In high school, I never pictured the me buried deep in Adobe Creative Suite, grocery shopping with coupons, and parallel parking near an apartment that you live at alone. It’s funny that without a road map or instructions, I’ve found myself here. But at this point I’m completely aware of the past and present. I’m (just like I always was) completely unaware of the future.
I think my next phase in life is simple: keep on keeping on. Instead of fretting over everything like I have a tendency to do now, maybe I’ll take a page out of my 16 year old self’s book.
I think the ambiguity and mystery of the future is just as exciting as the future itself. No matter what happens, it’s eventually going to happen. If I just decided that after the next 6 years I’ll be doing something “cool” and “unique” I’m sure I’ll be happier than I could even imagine now.
I think you pretty much summed up what most twenty-somethings think when they look back on high school. We never really picture life where it is right now, but somehow it all works out- right? Your idea of taking things one day at a time as a mantra is one most people overlook, but also one of the best ways to move forward. Living in the present will help keep life simple. It always does.
I hope you continue blogging and reflecting on life after college. You are a fabulous writer and storyteller-thank you for sharing your past few months!
Sending you tons of confidence, good fortune and sunshine as you start your next step!