I’ve always loved music, and when I need to fill the space with noise, I opt for music over the television. The station or playlist depends on my mood or activity, of course, but I seem to always be in the mood for classic rock. When I’m in my car, I’m known to listen to the radio at an obnoxious volume and can often be seen dancing or singing along. All I can say is "Blame it on Sammy Hagar's, There’s Only One Way to Rock."
But seriously, music warms my soul. Yesterday Faithfully by Journey came on the radio, and it took me back to when I was a young girl, about 13, at a dance, and hoping and praying the boy I liked would ask me to slow dance with him. I remember what a big deal it was, who was dancing with whom, and worried that I wouldn’t get asked to dance. I remember putting great emphasis on who I danced with, and ridiculously putting my self-esteem into the hands of an immature, unreasonable boy. If I were to be disappointed, I would feel horribly hopeless, and all over a stupid slow dance.
Let's fast forward the clock to my adult years when life really got complicated and my self-esteem was truly tested by a cheating, lying husband, responsibilities of children and co-workers from hell. Talk about disappointment and hopelessness.
Now I'm 47 and looking back through the years where my experiences provided opportunities to sulk in self-pity or grow and get stronger. I see that young girl up against the wall with self-doubt and confusion, lacking self-confidence, as Faithfully begins to play and boys scramble to find a dance partner. Yes, I’ve come a long way. Though I remember that little girl well, I am no longer her.
The song transported me back to those young days, and I’m drawn to reflect upon what I would tell her if I could go back and give her some advice.
I would tell my 13 year old self, "Never put your key to happiness in someone else’s pocket. Never look for happiness outside of yourself or base it on external circumstances." I would warn her that life only gets harder as she ages, and it is how she handles what happens to her, her reaction, that determines her direction and destiny. Bad things happen to good people, and you will either get better or bitter, but not both. Choose wisely.
I would tell her to surround herself with people that uplift her, bring out the best in her, and those people will be the ones that will show up to celebrate her successes and are genuinely happy for her. Those people are true friends.
I would tell her to nurture her independence, spend time alone and get to know who she is and love herself.
I would tell her to focus on the present, be mindful and not to waste time fretting over the past or worrying about the future. Make the best of each moment and each experience, and take nothing for granted.
I would tell her to travel often and travel afar, seek adventure, discover other cultures, and to keep learning.
I would tell her to slow down and not to be in a hurry to grow up. Go to college. Get an education. Learn another language, fluently. Dream big. Think big. Never shrink for anyone. Don’t let the insecurities of someone diminish her light. Shine bright. Be authentic, not a copy of someone else. Stand tall, shoulders back, and wear a smile like she has a secret that no one else knows.
Don’t be self-righteous. Seek peace but without losing her individuality. Don’t take everything so seriously. Have fun. Laugh a lot. Watch less TV and read more books. And communicate; speak her truth!
I would want her to know that she wasn’t meant to be a victim. In difficult times, take back her power when she is mistreated and be better for it. Take no one’s shit and stand up for herself.
I would like her to be like water, both soft and strong. Be kind, mostly to me.
And finally, I would tell my younger self to keep prayer and meditation in her daily life and of course, do more yoga.
I'm happy that the song Faithfully reminded me of my little self at a school dance because it prompted me to sit quietly and think about my feelings and the stories in my head. I am left with satisfaction from my insight and of my growth, confidence, and this blog.