Most parents I know work very hard not to be their parents and I was no different. I tried not to be my mother and to make different mistakes than she did. When I worked at American Eagle, one evening, I saw a visibly exhausted mother leave an aircraft with her toddling daughter. Rather than drag the child along demanding that she “keep up” (like most parents did), this woman smiled and charmed her daughter. She skipped and made it a game that only the two of them could play. They were embarking on a grand adventure to get their baggage! How exciting!
I wanted to be that mother.
When my son was really small, there were only the two of us there and I wondered how I would remember to make an adventure, to care for his nature and to remember to be that mother. After all, there was no one there to watch me. I thought that there was no one to stand there and keep me from letting my impatience or frustration make mistakes. But I was wrong.
There was someone there. There were actually two someones there – the Older Me and the Older Jaegar. Both Older versions of our Younger selves bore witness to every choice I made – good or bad. Recently, the Older Jaegar has mentioned a few of the bad choices and he’s right. I failed in those cases and I could just kick myself for those failures now. If I could. But, I can’t.
How much easier would it have been if my Older Self had stopped my Younger Self from making those mistakes to begin with? I didn’t always stop to think it through.
I’d love to tell you that I’ve licked that problem; but, I still don’t always stop to think things through. I certainly didn’t think through the consequences of eating bread and ice cream last week! My blood sugar was vaulted into the stratosphere, only to plunge into the Mariana Trench…..over and over again. The wheat and processed sugar created cravings and hunger pangs that were nothing short of miserable.
When I made my food choices last week thinking, “Nobody will know,” I was lying to myself. This Week Self saw the whole thing and has filed several Dietary Police reports already. I shudder to think of the actions to follow! If I had stopped to think how guilty I would feel over the mini McDonalds ice cream cone, I’d have skipped it. I didn’t, though. I was too busy ripping the seats out of the car looking to find spare change to buy the evil little frozen treat.
I didn’t think of the Older Me and how she sees just EVERYthing. I didn’t think of how she would scold me and stare condescendingly. I didn’t think it through.
I challenge you: remember that you are NEVER alone, even when you’re alone. Older You is always watching and that you will have to deal with her at some point. What do you want from her: praise or condemnation?
If it’s all the same to you, next time I’m going for praise.