I looked strange stopping to take a photo of a bare brick wall outside of a convenience store. To those who live in the city and pass it hundreds of times a year, I can understand how a wall is just a wall among all the other walls. A flashy new poster, a begging homeless person or renovations may divert an extra amount of their attention on the odd occasion. But for the most part this wall goes unnoticed. With lives so busy with to-dos and tomorrows, the future and present don’t give the past a chance to creep back in, or to catch your gaze when you go past a familiar location where given a sudden collapse in time and reality, to go back a few months or years, you would undoubtedly run into yourself.
What would you say ? What advice would you give ? Would the old you even take it ?
For me personally, this odd spot was where I stood everyday at 10.30am for 3 months straight. During my time at college it gave me the chance to get some much needed breathing space as pressures of the classroom and more so my own expectations of myself, left me uncomfortably anxious. By confiding in a classmate who would join me daily as he smoked while I ate my banana bread, I realised that my envy of his naturally gifted abilities and success in the class didn’t spare him the commendation of the biggest critic to be known, ourselves.
For every fear and worry I had, he felt he faced the same. Between the different quality of work we were producing, I never felt he noticed the discrepancy I did. I learned that’s not how people work, the natural inclination is to fear for ourselves, worry ourselves, and judge ourselves . It’s true when they say the most important person to prove anything to, is ourselves.
Over 1 year later, things worked out for both of us. I know if i ran in to the old me now , I would not try explaining how they did or why. This is because the old me would still do everything to avoid the path I was destined to travel. It don’t blame me. I mean, a few rough patches, early mornings, late nights, stress, feeling trapped, hopeless, underpaid ,under appreciated and unfulfilled. Sure after all the obstacles, I made it to the finish line and I’m onto another race to run, but despite how my primitive ancestors spent their time, running head on into dangers like this isn’t in my nature.
What little I do know of psychology is that its expected behaviour to avoid paid and seek pleasure. Knowing what lay ahead of me, the old me would honestly have turned around , despite the positive outcome that lay ahead, I wouldn’t have even believed in my own abilities to obtain it. So, the only thing I would say to the old me standing there is, “just keep going, it’s all going to be ok”. Whispering under my breath as I walked away “Don’t underestimate what you’re capable of”.
Next time you’re going through a place so familiar that you pay little attention, take notice. Where did you used to stand ?. Not just literally, but in all aspects of your life. How did you used to feel ? The best perspective of where we are now is sometimes where we came from.