January 7, 2010

Fifteen Years Ago...

We all like to believe that as we grow up we learn new things. If someone asks us, we accept unhesitatingly - with some pride even - that we made some mistakes, but we insist that these mistakes were necessary as they were an integral part of the learning process which makes us what we are today. If someone were to tell us that we have not learnt anything from our past mistakes, we are sure to take offence. To accept that we don't learn from our mistakes is to accept that we are not as smart as we like to think we are.

It might, however, be true. As much as we may want to believe that today we are better at living our lives than we were, say, fifteen, or twenty years ago, it might not be true. It is a possibility that we may just be living our lives without actually benefiting from the experience.

I say this because, recently, I came across this question: "If you were able to go back in time and get a few minutes to spend with the person you were fifteen years ago, what would you tell the young yourself?"

On the face of it, it seemed like a simple question, with answers that were not difficult at all. Wouldn't I have so much to tell a young me? Haven't I went through fifteen years in the meanwhile and experienced so many new things? I would share all that with him, so that he would not make the same mistakes as I did.

A little thought, however, disturbed me.

I realised that most of the things that I was going to tell him were things he already knew, and still, he made the mistakes that he did. In the last fifteen years I might have had different experiences, met new people, got a few degrees, etc. but did I really grow as an individual? Or, did I simply keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again?

Something tells me that the answer to the question is not something that I would like to hear. So, I am going to avoid the question for now.

What, however, I would like to do is to live my life in such a way that if fifteen years from now I get another chance to interact with the present me, I would not have such a tough time dispensing advice to me.


Ashutosh Singh said...

Simple version of the "The butterfly effect" :)

SandyCarlson said...

I love your honesty. Very much. And respect it. And feel the same way! What an insight.

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