I just finished watching Disney's, "The Kid" with Bruce Willis and enjoyed it just as much this time as the half-dozen or so other times I've watched it. The movie poses an important question and always makes me wonder how if I knew then what I know now, how much different would my life have been?
Everyone wants to think they would have made smarter choices but the older I get, the more I speculate that this may not be the case. We make conscious decisions based on the belief system that is instilled in many of us at a very early age. Sometimes, it takes a few decades before we can either overcome what we were taught or figure out that maybe we should have been paying more attention.
Thinking back, I was actually asked to join a critique group more years ago than I care to claim while attending a book signing. I declined. I had an old car, two babies at home and a lot of responsibilities. I'd gotten a personal day off of work to attend the signing. Did I miss an opportunity that day because I didn't realize that if I'd only asked for a little more help at home, I might have become a little more serious about my writing a little sooner?
If I had realized it at the time, would I have warned my 8 year-old self to pay closer attention, be braver and believe in my dreams if I'd had the chance? I'm not sure that at the ripe old age of 28, I would have understood what was happening. At the end of the movie, both the 40 year old adult and the 8 year old child are confronted with their older self, the guy who flies a plane, has a wife and a dog named Chester. Everything the 8 year old had ever wanted.
At 40, Bruce Willis' character finally understood what had been holding him back. The writer's were spot on, that's an age when I think many of us start questioning what we've done with our lives. At 40 I would have told my 8 year old self not to be afraid to pursue her dreams, no matter how uncomfortable that made people. That being strong had nothing to do with gender or physical presence.
Whatever your age now, what would you tell your 8 year old self that might make life a little easier, or at least more understandable?
Until next month,