This past weekend I was running down Stone Mountain at a breakneck pace, practicing something very close to parkour on the rocks of the trail. It was stupid, it was reckless, but it was everything I wanted to be when I was a kid.
Here I was doing the very action hero stuff (if even on a small scale) that I might have dreamed about doing when I was 12.
More and more I’m spending time to do all the things I pictured myself doing when I was a kid. And I’m finding more and more energy to do them. Why?
If I put my amateur Jungian psychologist hat on, I think there’s something like a reciprocal trade I’m making with myself. More precisely, it’s a deal my present self is making with my past younger selves.
When I go after a dream first hatched by one of my younger selves, it’s like I’m giving a gift to that younger version of me. In return, that younger version of me gives me the energy to achieve the dream. In other words, when I’m running down a mountain, it’s like I really do get the energy of a 12 year-old.
Wouldn’t you like to have that kind of energy? Your inner 12 year-old is still in there somewhere. But maybe he’s still pissed that you never used the resources and wisdom of your older age to actually achieve your 12 year old dreams. Maybe he’s just waiting on you to get moving before he gives you that passion and energy you lost.
Come through on those promises you made to (and as) your younger selves. You’ll be rewarded.
You know that moment in the superhero movie (at the climax) when all the superheroes make dramatic entrances and team up to kick the villain’s ass? I imagine something similar: as I work to achieve more of the dreams I’ve had over the span of my life, all of my younger selves are coming together to give me the energy to make those dreams come true.
10 year old James, 12 year old James, 6 year old James, 17 year old James – for all their faults – have some ass-kicking energy to lend to the fight.
*Have been influenced by Wishcraft in thinking about the importance childhood dreams. Haven’t finished this yet, but it’s been an interesting read so far.