You CAN go back again, and if you’re lucky…many things won’t be the same.
This week finds me in a small town in Wisconsin, visiting my parents. It is a different season here than the warmth and flowers I left in California not even a week ago. While most of the snow is gone now except for the occasional oversized dirty snowbank, I realize it is also a different season of my life.
Earlier I took a walk by myself, something unheard of in years past because my very active mother, always anxious to get out and walk, would prod me to traipse along the river and view the memorial plaques nailed to trees and benches for grandparents and families long since past. But this year she cannot walk without her hip bothering her. “Arthritis,” the doctor said, but as long as she doesn't walk she'll be okay.
But will I?
Although I only lived here with them for a couple years in my youth after my father retired from the Army and Ft. Banning, Georgia, before I took off to bright lights, sunnier skies and dreams in California that I didn't even know existed, in many ways, this is still home. And the reality of how home has changed hits me hard.
I walked for the first time ever, by myself. While not intending to, I went by some of my youthful haunts. I even walked into an old bar I once frequented, in those days called the Hang Out, now known as the Lounge Around. Not having entered it's doors for almost thirty-five years, as I stood just inside the door, it was intoxicating to remember the alcohol-induced haze of my life back then at eighteen. Transported in an instant back into being that naive insecure girl who really just wanted comfort for a while, I envisioned myself at the bar again and felt the draw of that bad boy who would come to haunt me for the rest of my life, the one who introduced me to stronger feelings of love, fear, and cocaine.
My motto is, “compare yourself only to yourself,” and the reality is that when I compare my body of thirty-five years ago to the one I have today, much has changed. My physique, stamina and the way my body functions, has deteriorated. Yet, when I compare my brain today to that young girl’s brain that I used to have, I certainly don't envy my feelings of being less than everyone else and the low self-confidence that kept me from being able to clearly set boundaries and speak my truth.
I'm REALLY glad time has pushed forward and I've changed.
When we compare ourselves to ourselves it’s important to choose what we’re comparing. Comparing my mind today to my mind back then is a much more fruitful comparison than to how I looked or the energy I once had. A comparison of my two different minds is a comparison I can actually feel good about. Building confidence, building self-esteem, building self-respect and self-knowledge, all the aspects that lead to Self Appeal, is about choosing to think the thoughts and engaging in the activities that help us feel good about ourselves so we continue on a cycle of positivity.
The reality is that our bodies will fail. My parents, once younger livelier and able to walk long distances, are now more sedentary and less active. I yearn to have my parents stay the way they were and for myself to keep growing. This isn't realistic. This is the longing of a young girl who's afraid of losing people whom she once thought of as God's and who she will always associate as being comfort and home.
Choosing to focus on one’s growth and not on inevitable decline is the key to all positive self-comparison; the realistic view for person’s who want to live a grateful life built on experience and wisdom. This will raise your self-image.
Time does not stand still, and we really don’t want it to, although often we can make ourselves believe that we wish it would.