What Would You Tell Your Younger Self?

I remember a scene from the movie What’s Up, Doc? where the Ryan O’Neal character says to the Barbra Streisand character, “I like you, Judy. You’re just different.” She says, “I know I’m different, Steve, but from now on I’ll try to be the same.” He asks, “The same as what?” She says, “The same as people who aren’t different.”

Well, there you have it … my life story summed up in movie dialogue.

There’s a general principle in marketing that you are your ideal client. Most of the people I know, however, aren’t really like I am. So, I’d been wondering, what type of person would benefit from the lessons I’ve learned over my long journey?

Probably someone younger. Probably someone like I was when I was younger.

Basically: my younger self. That’s who I’m writing to.

I had a chance to write to the “younger me” over the last few weeks.

I got an email from a friend who wanted to use the videos in Your Story Shaping Blueprint, if appropriate, for a youth group she leads. I checked the videos for appropriateness. There were a couple of things I needed to pull out – such as any reference to “When I look back over the last 20 years, I …”

My younger me doesn’t want to hear about something I learned “over the last 20 years.” People under 20 years old do not understand how to view a 20-year-old memory the same as someone much older does, and my younger me is going to find that phrase distracting.

You know how I know this? There was a time when I was 20 years old. I was at a dinner recognizing my sorority’s Founders’ Day. Our guest speaker was elderly; she had known the founders. After the sisters put on a skit that involved a roller coaster, I asked the speaker, “Have you ever ridden a roller coaster?”

The speaker said, “Yes, I have, and it wasn’t too long ago. About 10 years.” I was astonished that she could say “about 10 years,” half my age, was not too long ago. I was distracted. That’s the only part of the night I remember. I told that story at different times in my 20s. And now I’ve told it again as a cautionary tale.

So, as I looked at the videos, I cut out the parts that said “20 years ago” plus other things that I didn’t think would resonate with my younger me. Each week I sent a new link to my friend, who has returned the favor by providing valuable feedback after presenting each video. It’s been like our own little test kitchen. And something’s been stirring for how to go forward.   

If you had a chance, what would you want to say to your younger me?

Take a moment and think about it.

Did you come up with something?

Is this something you can tell yourself now?

Enjoy your magnificent journey.

– Minnie Lamberth
The Magnificent Journey
Vol. 3, Issue 5