Netflix is a regret many of us will share in a decade or so. Just think about all those hours you’ve--WE’VE-- wasted binging on Orange is the New Black or Law and Order: SVU. What’s sunlight, anyway?
Until then, it is ironic that I recently watched on Netflix a very funny, very reflective documentary(?) called Mortified, which is kind of like a Ted talk for your middle school self. Yes, it’s normal to regret Netflix necromancy (where did those hours GO?) and even more normal to cringe at the thought of little you walking around in your sixth grade hallway. You won’t, however, regret watching Mortified. People get on stage and read from their diaries-- it’s hilarious, honest, and makes you want to re-visit who you were way back when.
Not everyone keeps a diary, but memories are something we all hold on to. They make us laugh. They make us cringe. Hurt. Regret. Wonder. Think. After watching Mortified, I rushed to re-read one of my own journals, which I had brought back to my apartment after a visit home.
Some thoughts for you, and then you just have to go watch it for yourself:
Who you were when you were 10, 13-and-a-half, 17, 19…it’s the same as who you are now. We all grow and change. Mature. Get a little wrinkle around the eye. At the heart of it, though, we will always wish we could be a bit better understood. Do more with our time. Spend more minutes, hours... days with our family before they go. Wish we could hold tighter onto our friends even though we can already feel them slipping away (because, yes, it’s happened to us before). Stop wasting so much time on worries, regrets, pangs of shame, or wondering if this path is the right one. These thoughts and fears never go away, although I suspect it does get easier to tell someone to “go pound sand” when you’re going on 86. I do believe everyone starts talking that way when they turn 86, by the way. You’ll see.
It is possible to simultaneously wish you had written down more while wondering why you felt it was safe to keep these thoughts lying around at all. How embarrassing!
The things you grew up liking to do are what you should be doing. Minus the “I want to be an astronautical doctor” stuff. I wrote a lot about writing even when I was in my teens… that I didn’t realize about myself until today. Pretty neat what you can re-learn about yourself.
Writing something from your heart, or unfiltered from your head, is way more interesting than blathering a diluted thought or two. Odds are that if you’re honest, someone appreciates your candor, even if they don’t show it. Hell, even if no one does, at least you’ll appreciate looking back on what you thought at 32 when you’re 82. Who cares what the others think, anyway? They’re going to die just like you.
EVERYTHING is funny in the future. You could break your arm. Lose a tooth. It’s simply hilarious down the road. Ok, so some things don’t get funny… like the death of a loved one or a serious illness… but the pain does diminish, and that’s good enough sometimes.
Curious… what will you find? What will you learn about you? How does it impact your writing today?