I just turned 57 and I find myself reflecting about my life more often than usual. I was participating in Dawn Herring's Journal Chat on Twitter a few weeks ago and the discussion was about an article by Amy Shearn, called "15 Things Every Woman Should Write Down Right Now".
Among the writing prompts were "Your Favorite Failure", "The Hardest Thing to Forgive" and "The Best Surprise You've Ever Had". But it was Writing Prompt Number 10 that really got my attention: "What Younger You Would Like About Present You."
I thought about this and honestly, it was difficult to see the plusses in my life, at least when imagined through the eyes of my younger, highly naïve and impressionable self. I think she’d like my crystal singing bowl, my dollhouse collection, my jewelry and my huge library of books. And she might even think it's cool that I became a writer, traveled to many places and married a British yacht captain.
However, I suspect there would be a long grocery list of disappointments, beginning with my appearance. Without going into great detail, let's just say that I don’t look so groovy anymore and if I even attempted to wear a mini skirt in public, my younger me would probably want to disavow any knowledge of my action.
I also believe she would be angry that I had not kept our pact. We had a Plan! I was supposed to have become a famous movie star. I was supposed to have married a professional baseball player. Our stately mansion was supposed to be on a huge ranch surrounded by hundreds of apple trees and a stable full of gleaming, always-groomed horses. That was supposed to be my one and only Life Purpose.
But none of these things ever materialized because, well, I didn't even try to manifest them… so I think my younger me would see me today as a real loser. "You were supposed to stick with The Plan," she'd say. "What the heck happened to The Plan?"
There's an old saying that "Life happens when you're making other plans." I wonder if she would understand that? Change happens. Misfortune happens. Pain happens. One moment you're skipping confidently along the
Yellow Brick Road with a dog and a dream and the next moment you're staring blindly at signposts, getting directions from some brainless scarecrow.
Having lost my way is one of those obstacles I never even considered when I was the younger me, but it surely happened--and not just once, but many times. Would she understand that I not only allowed negative things to occur, but I actually manifested them?
Back in the '70s, I discovered a wonderful book called The Magic of Believing by Claude M. Bristol. This book made a mighty impact on me and was my introduction to creative visualization and manifesting, although I learned I had practiced it all my life.
As a child, I was encouraged by my parents and educators that if I didn't have what I wanted, I was to either make do or improvise. So no one was terribly surprised when they found I had made a four-tunnel tent from blankets and chairs in our living room, or constructed an "automated" lemonade stand from a refrigerator box carton or built a penny carnival in the backyard.
Courage is something I have manifested many times and I wonder if the younger me would have been impressed by that. Like the time I left home at 19 to move to
, a big, strange city where I knew absolutely no one. Or when I moved to Boston in my '30s and wanted to attend a writers conference but there wasn't one in my state, so I created it myself. Rhode Island
Writing Prompt Number 10 inspired me to write my younger me a letter about changes and manifesting and here it is:
My dear little younger self--
Do you remember when I used to pretend I was a beautiful fairy with a magical wand? I'd just wave it around and poof! Something I wanted would magically appear, like a Barbie dream house. Or something I didn't want would instantly disappear, like a warty old toad or a nosy brother.
When I first came up with "The Plan", I didn't have a yearning to find my Life Purpose or Higher Purpose. Instead, my yearning was to be served the world on a silver platter simply because I thought I was special. I believed the hype that beauty plus money always equals power and happiness. And I thought love would always be romantic. I had no clue about what was really important in life.
I thought having a magic wand would give me great power but I didn't know then that Wishing is just one of the steps to manifesting. For instance, you have to believe that you already have what you desire. And I never believed that I had that luxurious mansion or Ferraris.
But you're right. I did forget "The Plan" and I was as surprised as anyone. Somewhere along the
Yellow Brick Road I found I no longer wanted all those material trappings. I began to really see and listen to the world around me, to appreciate the simplest things, right down to the very last bloom on a rose bush in winter.
I learned to love myself and to see Life as precious, people as precious, and to know in my heart that everything and everyone is an extension of The Creator, which means they are also an extension of me.
So what you are looking at, my dear young self, is a much improved, much happier me. Trust me when I say that my wealth of love and will and knowledge have much more substance than a collection of mansions or horses or Ferraris. For me, the right path is the one that makes my heart sing!