I’m quite fond of people who are younger than me – I’m talking late teens, early/mid twenties. So why do I like people in the age category I mentioned? They remind me of my younger self. I was, at that phase of life, young and restless but not in a fun or wild way.
In my younger years (late teens and early/mid twenties), I was more often than not an emotional wreck. Most of us know how things can be at that phase in life. I had to deal with so much anxiety, anger and fear, and I let it cripple me. To myself and other people, I was someone I wasn’t proud of. The bottom line is this: I was a dysfunctional adult until my late twenties, and honestly, I still struggle sometimes. But I know better now, and I’ve realized it requires hard work to keep being a better version of myself; someone who I’m mostly proud, and who chooses to emulate the good things I admire in people.
I’m 29 years old now; and when I encounter younger adults, I can’t help but feel drawn to them — this is a recent development. I’m kinder, more patient and try to be friends when I can, though it’s not very often easy for me. I’m socially anxious and sometimes not good at initiating friendships.
In a way, reaching out to people younger than me feels like healing, forgiving my younger self. I feel drawn to give them the things I never gave myself: kindness, a chance to be who I am, friendship, patience, love. I must confess that I get a sense of relief when I see these young ones because I feel grateful to be past that point in my life when I was constantly on the edge.
If given the chance to go back and say something to my younger self, I’ll definitely say the things I’ll tell any young person I know now: to relax; have fun (but be responsible); break your heart you’ll be fine; make mistakes because it’s inevitable and usually full of hidden, important lessons; crack a book, say yes; don’t be so afraid; I forgive you.
Every humane thing I say to a younger person these days are the things I didn’t say to myself and even other people when I was younger. Doing this brings me joy and some form of emotional healing.