⚔️ Old You vs Current You
In a 2016 interview in the New York Times, two founders of a company discussed life's highs and lows.
When reminiscing about what New York City was like in the 1980s and 90s, one of the cofounders said, “I miss the old New York.”
His cofounder corrected him.
“No, you don’t,” he said.
This exchange hits at a universal truth:
As we age and gather experiences, there's a certain version of ourselves that seems to disappear into the shadows.
This version was more optimistic, ambitious, and excited about the journey of life.
This younger self was, arguably, less informed, less measured – but was he not bolder, braver, and more excited to leap into the unknown?
The transition from a wide-eyed youth to a mature, experienced adult is both inevitable and essential.
We gain knowledge, cultivate wisdom, develop resilience, and build a repertoire of experiences, both good and bad.
These are invaluable traits.
They enable us to make sound decisions, avoid pitfalls, and, navigate the complexities of modern life.
But does this evolution come at a cost?
The younger version of ourselves, unaffected by past failures or societal expectations, operated on a different plane.
Decisions were driven more by heart than by an analysis of pros and cons.
We expected more, risked more, and, as a result, sometimes gained more.
This courage in the face of uncertainty often led to unexpected adventures.
Science has a say on this.
Neurological studies have revealed that when we’re younger our brain, especially the prefrontal cortex responsible for decision-making, isn't fully developed.
This 'underdevelopment' results in heightened emotions, impulsiveness, and risk-taking behaviors.
But isn’t there an ironic beauty in this?
That in the absence of complete neural maturity, there exists an aggressive audacity?
As we grow older, the scales tip.
Rationality overshadows impulse.
We become more cautious, more deliberate.
But in this cautious deliberation, do we also stiff-arm that daring spirit that once propelled us into uncharted territories?
The spirit that, while resulting in occasional missteps, also led to unexpected, exhilarating experiences?
The challenge, then, isn't to revert but to integrate.
How can we marry the cautious wisdom of our mature selves with the fearless optimism of our younger counterparts?
How do we ensure that while we're smarter today, we haven't stifled the boldness that once defined us?
One way is to consciously reconnect with our past selves.
To remember all of the moments when we dived headfirst, driven by passion rather than calculation.
When was the last time you took up a challenge simply because it excited you, and not because it was the 'sensible' thing to do?
When did you last trust your gut over a spreadsheet?
Another way is to regularly challenge our own status quo.
This doesn't mean discarding the wisdom we've acquired but allowing our younger, more audacious selves to co-pilot our life's journey.
Let's dare to dream big again, pursue a long-forgotten passion, or simply take a new path on our daily walk.
When we do, we may discover that we don't necessarily miss the 'old us'.
Instead, we yearn for a union of our past and present selves.
Inside of you is a version that may have been sidelined but is eagerly waiting for another chance to shine.