What Would You Say?Written by Teresa Clark
I came across a photographer the other day who creates incredible portraits of senior citizens standing in front of mirrors from which their younger selves are looking out. It made me wonder. If I could talk to my younger self, what stories would I tell? If my younger self could talk back, what dreams would she remind me of?
I remember my grandma telling me when she was 98 years old that inside, in her heart, she still felt nineteen years old. She just couldn't understand why her body didn't feel so good. She was the same person she was, and yet the years had seasoned her. Attitudes and habits may have lingered, but conviction, strength of will, and the generosity of her heart was magnified.
Wouldn't it be amazing if we could sit down and have a chat with our younger selves? Think of the lessons you could share, the memories you could restore! Of course, such a moment could never happen in real time, but then again, why not?
If I could sit down with nineteen year old Teresa I'd tell her to never stop running barefoot. I'd tell her to hold on to her zest for life, but remember to really pay attention to the moments she has with people she loves. I'd tell her to cut her mother some slack. I'd tell her to trust more and doubt less. She'd tell me to guard my heart. Younger Teresa wouldn't listen too deeply, but she'd tell me to lighten up and remember to laugh every day. She'd ask me if I was writing, and if I said no, she'd remind me my soul atrophies if I don't. I'd tell her that things would work out, she'd find a man who loved her just the way she was and I'd promise her children would be magnificent. She'd ask me if life got easier and I'd tell her in many ways it got tougher, but with the increased risk came increased satisfaction. In fact, I'd assure her that everything would turn out better than she ever expected.
I could go on, you get the idea. I want to challenge you to take a journey with your younger self Just imagine for a moment that you can go to lunch with the person you were at nineteen. You're sitting across the table, they lean over to make sure you're truly paying attention and then they'd say, "Name something in your life that turned out better than you ever expected." What would you say?
A national award-winning storyteller, historian and author, she is best known for her original works and recollections of life's experiences blended with history. Teresa has presented and performed throughout the United States. Of her, it has been said, "Charming, witty, soulful, and wise, her performances are filled with a compelling sense of wonder and an irresistable zest for life." Her story work involves performance, education, production, and advocacy. From the main stage to individual consultations in living rooms across America, she delights in the excavation and sharing of family story. Most importantly, she is a wife, mother, and grandmother to her favorite playmates and best friends.
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