Author Posts

February 20, 2014 at 7:13 pm

A friend recently told me she thought I was living too much in the past because I post a lot of old pictures on Facebook.  While I can understand why she would assume that, I had to explain to her that I was doing it consciously, as an attempt to integrate past selves into my current self.  I remember who I was when I was 19, I was uninhibited, excited about the world, would spend hours  with a four-track writing songs, stayed up into 5 am reading, and would go to work as usual.  Obviously I can’t do the long hours so well anymore but I want to stay connected to my old selves, with their sense of play and of the world being wide open and so much to explore…I see those pics of myself and by representing myself as THAT person, I feel that I am being seen again, by other people and by myself.  I highly recommend it!

February 24, 2014 at 11:04 pm

Interesting post, Meghan! This made me think of the ways that “adult identity” conditioning can lead to a more limited mindset about oneself and what is available to them. As young people (whether children, teenagers, or even young adults up to a certain point), the cultural messages are to play, be spontaneous, explore – that the “world is wide open” – like you said. Once people hit a certain age, they can start to “feel” as if their world is getting smaller. In modern US culture, the norm is – in many ways – for life to get more routine and isolated as one gets older.

For example, during the younger years, we tend to have more people in our lives because the surrounding structures, like schools and college dormitories, support that.  But, as we age, most people’s social circle starts to get smaller.  More time is spent at work vs. at play, and the expectation is to live in more private settings (getting a one bedroom apartment, coupling up in a single family home, etc. are things to aspire to in modern US culture). While it’s nice to have more space, consistency and stability in one’s life, the expectations and pressures around adulthood can lead people to feel more inhibited and less playful (which can make it harder to lead a dynamic and satisfying life). So, I’m glad to hear that you are finding creative ways to stay connected to the good parts of that “old self” that feels more free.

On a related note, “Reminiscence Therapy” is actually a modality that’s been studied and used effectively with older adults, particularly those that are dealing with depression. I know this doesn’t apply to you because you are not an elder, but I see the same benefits at any age – where we look at the past to add understanding and meaning to our present. Yes, it’s not healthy to be “stuck” in the past, but reflecting on and integrating different life stages can actually be quite enriching.

February 24, 2014 at 11:57 pm

Just reading the words “reminiscence therapy” brought tears to my eyes.  (See, I told you.)  I think there are many things about my young/old self that I miss and want to incorporate more into my current self. Specifically the optimism I had about the world we live in and what the world had in store for me.

March 31, 2014 at 9:43 am

Meghan, thank you for the reminder that our identities are constantly evolving.  I agree that holding on to the parts of our younger selves that were more free and idealistic helps us stay connected to who we really are.  There is a “kid” in all of us, and if that kid keeps our world full of joy and possibility, that is a healthy thing.

While I don’t post pictures on Facebook nearly enough, I understand the value of others seeing all of those parts of you.  As a stay at home mom, I feel like so much of my focus is on my children and my community rarely sees the parts of me that used to be so free and idealistic.  The other day, I pulled out a photo album of pictures from when I used to dance.  I looked at the pictures and remembered the feeling of performing in front of an audience, of moving to the music and feeling really alive. There are periods in our lives where we don’t have the time to do all of the things we used to love and make us feel alive.  I know I certainly don’t have that time now.  But we can still be just as connected to these experiences now, as we age. We are all so rich and complex, and it’s nice to be seen that way.