On Tuesday, March 22, 2016, my mom and I returned to her home in Grand Junction from our two-week trip to California. I continued to read Deliberate Receiving by Melody Fletcher and suggested that we each write a letter to ourselves that we would read in six months. It was a form of visualization. For some reason, this led my mom to begin scouring packages of old pictures.
Eventually we got so caught up in the digression, we spent hours pouring over the photos and finally scanned and digitized a few of them, then posted them on Facebook. This experience unlocked some deep places in me, bringing up feelings of nostalgia, that kind that is so permeating it stirs waves of memories and old emotions like opening trunks in the attic and dislodging ancient dust and strange scents.
Among the stash of decades old photographs, we found one of myself at age 19 and one of myself at age 24. I’d always believed at that time in my life that I was ugly. Yet, when I saw the pictures, I was truly stunned by how beautiful I was (or at least, that’s the way I view myself now).
In fact, if I did not know that young woman in those photos, that teenage girl smiling widely, holding her pet cat, Chum, her hand under the cat’s chin, forcing it to look toward the camera, I would think she was one of those super-popular “Heathers” in high-school or college.
Her skin fresh like a cover girl commercial, her features perfectly proportioned and symmetrical, eyes bright, cheeks rosy, her hair was long, smooth, and shiny blond.
It’s true. I had once been that girl.
It prompted me to think deeply about this idea of limiting core beliefs and the stories we tell ourselves. I often say that reality is 99% the interior world we create.
In a part of my mind, I hear myself saying that I could have been that Hollywood starlet, if only I hadn’t been so full of fear and self-doubt.
What I am less likely to acknowledge is that one day, another 30 years will have passed, and I will look back on the photos of myself and my mom in California and feel that same wave of nostalgia, sadness, and regret.
I will think to myself, “If only I had been more present in those moments and appreciated those precious seconds of life when Mom was with me, walking up and down the beach in Malibu, watching the sunsets on the ocean or in Nevada, or in Utah, the spectacular light show at sunset and sunrise as we stood on the rim of Bryce Canyon in the frosty March air.
I cannot let the next 30 years pass by in an unconscious sleep, dreaming some story of the petty ego, full of fear, taking things personally and wasting energy giving a damn about any of that.
I want to cherish every single glimpse of this mysterious treasure called life.