(619) 425-8613 [email protected]

Remembering our Younger Selves and Divorce.

by | Jun 21, 2024 | Uncategorized

I have this picture of myself placed strategically in my office that was taken by a photographer for the town newspaper where I grew up in Ojai back when I was 17 and running cross-country my senior year in high school.  Despite it being taken nearly 40 years ago, I remember that place in time as though it was yesterday.  Our cross-country races were 3 miles long and the photograph was taken at about the 2 mile mark of the race.  Every once in a while as a runner all the stars align and the struggle seems to subside and the running almost becomes effortless.  This photo captured one such moment.  On this particular day I was near the front of the pack, was hardly feeling the two miles I had already covered, and was just about to kick it into high gear to take off for the final stretch to ultimately win the race.  This week’s blog is not about past glories but is instead about remembering old parts of ourselves and prior strengths that are within that we can tap into as we look for the drive to meet our struggles along the way.  


Where Does Our Younger Self GoA lot has happened since I was 17.  From my perspective, our present selves are comprised of bits and pieces of who we were in the beginning, sculpted and molded by our experiences into what we feel we are today.  I have spent much of my life wondering when I might finally grow up because I have always carried a big part of that wide eyed and fancy free kid along with me down the path of life even into the present.  I have placed that running photograph in a prominent place to remind me regularly about that person I once was.  I was the eternal optimist.  I had a ready and constant smile on my face.  I had yet to experience any significant loss in my life.  I felt like I could accomplish anything and be anything.  I was blissfully naive to the challenges that were to come along the way that burden us with sadness, worries, stresses and leave us regretting events of the past or dreading things awaiting us in our future.


Don’t get me wrong.  I still smile.  I continue to find ways to have fun.  I am still largely optimistic and maintain confidence in myself to tackle new and challenging things.  I still have faith in humankind.  I still have a sense of adventure.  I have just, as most of us do as we get older, experienced significant losses in my life, have carried responsibility heavy on my shoulders, and have at times lost sight of the present by worrying about past or future things.  When a new difficulty, such as divorce, comes along and we are already tired, worn down, and spread thin, it is easy for us to get overwhelmed and discouraged.


Just a Simple Reminder We are always much more than that which we feel we are at any given moment.  This is especially the case when we are feeling lost and vulnerable and defeated.  At these times we can lose sight of our strengths and can resign ourselves to our weaknesses and failure.  For me, taking a moment to remind myself that I continue to carry that part of myself that is the eternal optimist, that believes he can accomplish anything, and that has a carefree joy and zest for life is refreshing, uplifting, and invigorating.  Why do we let life get in the way of that?  I remember being a kid and seeing the clear distinction between kids and adults being that adults were usually taking things way too seriously.  When I look at that younger photograph of me, I remind myself not to do so.  I don’t know that I can ever get back into the great shape I was in when I was 17.  I certainly didn’t know then how much I really didn’t know.  I wouldn’t give back the lifetime I have experienced since that day.  We all continue to bear whatever strengths we once possessed as children, at least the bits and pieces of them that remain after whatever life has done to us along the way. 


Why not find strength in the remembering?  We often think “if I knew then what I know now.”  Why not do it the other way around and remember now what we knew then.  Why not remember our innocence and our optimism and our fearlessness?  Why not draw upon our childhood joy and passion and energy as we tackle our challenges today?  I remind myself about that time because there is nothing preventing me from tapping into all those good things I was at 17 and combining it with all the knowledge, perspective and life experience I have accumulated along the way since.  I suggest we should all remember that we have that childhood magic that lives within each of us to tap into as we tackle whatever life throws our way.  Consider putting something on the refrigerator or your bookshelf as I have done to remind yourself of that younger you that is still within to draw upon to make life a little easier and more joyful.