It's one thing to think about what you might say to your past self, but how about yourself twenty years from now? That's what Jeremiah McDonald did when he edited together a video of himself at age 12, with his current self (age 32.)
I'm not sure how much footage McDonald filmed between the younger and older versions to get to the roughly three-minute finished version, but I thought he did a good job of capturing the shock of facing your past (literally!) while still being touched by the dreams you had as a child.
What Ever Happened To...
The clip starts out with younger Jeremiah asking if the family pets are still alive. (Naturally, since the tape is 20 years older, they aren't.) Older Jeremiah makes a show of looking exasperated with the questions his silly little-kid-self asks.
As I watched it, I realized a version of this question (What ever happened to...?) would be the first on my mind too. Where is everyone (including the dog)? Did everyone make it, and if not, when did they die? Who is left to be a part of your friends and family now?
Sound morbid? Maybe. But seeing myself in the future would surely throw my natural inquisitive nature off my game a bit.
Looking Into Your Younger Face
One thing that struck me about Jeremiah's footage is how silly and sweet his younger self looks. It's one thing to imagine yourself younger, but if you could see a video like Jeremiah's and look directly into your younger face, would it change how you thought of yourself now?
To me, yes. I didn't have the happiest of childhoods. Would my 12-year old eyes show that? How would I be able to impart wisdom to my younger self when really, I had been through a lot by then? What's more, how could I tell her how great things would work out eventually when I'd know that she wouldn't believe me?
Keeping Your Childhood Dreams
One of the most touching parts of Jeremiah's clip is when his younger self asks if he still draws. He realizes then that he used to draw all the time, and even wanted to be a cartoonist. The look on his 32-year old self is poignant, and I imagine that his younger self would be disappointed that he hadn't kept it up. As a result, Jeremiah decided to start pursuing his dream again, so the moment had an impact on him.
This is where I could happily tell my younger self that yes, you will do the one the thing you always wanted to do: be a writer. It will be difficult sometimes. You'll do jobs in the beginning that don't pay well. You'll work part-time for the first few years while you build up your freelance business. But after awhile, you'll do what you have always loved to do and get paid for it.
I hope she'd be happy about that.
What Would You Tell Your Older Self?
After seeing Jeremiah's experiment, I would like to encourage everyone right now to film some questions to themselves 20-years from now. What do you most want to know about your future?
I wonder if, in looking at these videos 20-years from now, we'll see the silly, sweet, innocent person of our youth that Jeremiah saw in his 12-year old self. I wonder if we could begin to see ourselves that way today?
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