If you met up with your younger self, say in another dimension, what would you tell him/her? Like in the Disney movie: The Kid, starring Bruce Willis, where his persona-Russ Duritz, a highly sought after image consultant, meets his younger self, Rusty Duritz, played by Spencer Breslin.
In the movie, Russ is impolite and has a very strained relationship with his father. Then he meets Rusty, who asks him if he is already become a pilot, if he has a dog named Chester and if he’s already married, to which he replies no. He tells young Rusty that he can’t be able to handle dogs because of his constant travelling, and he is not a pilot but an image consultant and he doesn’t have a wife yet. Rusty tells him he dislikes his future.
When Russ’ assistant, Amy, meets the young boy she sees so many similarities with the two so she assumes Rusty is Russ’ son but later they tell her the truth. Russ mocks Rusty because of his weight and he finds him a bother, ever afraid that the boy will embarrass him. However, Amy likes Rusty and tells Russ he should try to learn more from him.
Russ finally decides to make time for Rusty, deciding it was time he learned why the young boy is there and if there’s something he needs to fix from his past. He recalls a fight he had on his birthday and that takes them back in time. Rusty has a fight in school where he was being bullied but because Russ had taught him how to ward off bullies, Rusty wins the fight.
Afterwards they go back home, where Russ meets his embittered dad, who admonishes Rusty, manhandling him and the boy starts crying. Russ comforts him, telling him that his dad was only scared because his mom was dying and he was afraid of raising a young boy alone.
They then go to a diner, where they talk about the fight earlier; how Rusty beat the bullies and they congratulate each other. While they are still talking a dog walks up to Rusty and they hear an older Russ call the dog Chester. They both run out and find he has a red plane. Rusty and Russ learn that in late middle age they will become a pilot, have a dog and marry Amy, who will be the mother of their children. Excited, they realize they both changed the future, after which old Russ and Rusty return to their own time.
That’s just a fictional story, but today when I woke up, right before I said my morning prayers, I wondered what I would tell my younger self, teenage Aly, to be precise. Because the things I did/didn’t do as a child somehow shaped my life into what it is today. That’s how I remembered the movie.
As a child I was just introverted, never divulging much. Everyone who knew me branded me ‘the quiet one’. When I wasn’t being ‘quiet’ I had very violent outbursts. Even teachers and fellow students in school knew I was a walking time bomb. As I got into teenage hood, I started experiencing panic attacks and since then, they have always been with me and honestly, there’s nothing pleasant about it.
For the better part of my teenage years, I spent most of my life in and out of hospitals, getting treated for anxiety-related illnesses. If I knew what I know now, chances are I would have sailed happily through teenage hood.
From how I decipher it, all those times I spent in solitude gave me so much time to analyse everything, the good and the bad in depth. I wasn’t talking much, so whenever I had anything troubling me, I internalized it and from that stemmed a deep sitted fear, which eventually morphed into an anxiety disorder.
Most of my thoughts and my perspective of things in general leaned towards pessimism. Because of that, I found myself battling constantly with a racing heart and frantic thoughts…it was chaotic inside; I was always feeling restless. Sometimes I wished my body wasn’t mine, just so I could enjoy some peace of mind, some tranquillity, even if for just a short while.
When I was away in boarding school I would always wonder how mom was doing; if dad was hurting her, and when I went back home during the holidays the situation at home didn’t help either. Mom and dad would be caught up in regular fights. For someone struggling with anxiety issues, that only aggravated my disorder.
If I met my younger self, I would tell her not to worry too much. Parents fight sometimes but it doesn’t always mean they hate each other or they will kill each other. Sometimes I look at my parents and I get the impression they love each other a lot, it’s only that sometimes they seem to have so many conflicting interests.
I would also ask my younger self to go out more and interact with people. This is because I feel I spent too much time alone, mulling over things and that’s how I always managed to get so anxious. It is indeed true that a problem shared is a problem halved.
Most importantly, I would remind her she is not alone. I would tell her that God is always watching over her and even though she may feel things are not going the way she expects, He only wishes the best for her. I would ask her to trust Him more, and to live in the moment, taking one day at a time, without worrying about the future.