I’d fallen asleep but found myself awake in a strange place. An alley. A dark alley with dim lighting from a lamp above, some fog and mist for affect. There before me was my younger self. It appeared he was listening to me. What was I saying?
I’m sure everyone at one point has thought, “Oh, if I could just go back” or “I wish I would have known this when I was young”. For me it is a real dilemma. If you had known somethings would you have made the same choices in life and would you be the person you are today. At forty years old, I am full of scars and mistakes that are all a huge part of what makes me who I am. If I take away many of those supposed “negatives” then would I have experienced success, would I have enjoyed my triumphs, would the positives still be there without the negatives. Each individual can only answer that question for themselves.
For me, experiencing the height of a mountain only has the elation and joy if you came from the valley. That physical and true metaphor has a ton of weight for me as I contemplate what I would be telling my younger self. My life has truly been hills and valleys and deep canyons and mountain tops. For me the sweetness of the journey, in success or failure, is what makes the man.
Sure, there are lots of silly things I’d probably love to be telling myself. Just in items of fitness alone: “Don’t lift so heavy, your joints will pay for it when your older”, “Protect your elbows and knees”, “Don’t waste your money on most supplements and learn how to eat correctly”. I use the fitness items just as an example I’m not sure my younger self wouldn’t have already tuned out!
If the silly, little things wouldn’t need to be said and I’m pretty confident I believe my journey of ups and downs was truly an exercise in seeing the forest for the trees. Then what would I actually be saying to the younger me?
I found myself telling him about balance. Such an important part to this life. A person has categories to their life. I believe I have four categories. I believe one category would be my spiritual side. The physical side would represent health, fitness, body, and sexuality. The work life or occupation would be another. Finally, your home life and what that entails. I was told by a man that you can have one of these categories in turmoil but getting a second into turmoil causes major life disruptions. If a third category begins having issues then this is when we see life struggles that can cause fierce issues. I’m not sure if it was the darkness, the misty lighting or my cryptic personality but my younger self appeared to be a captive audience so I continued…
I began telling him about a code I’d develop in law enforcement. One that has served me well as an investigator, father, and just being a good person for those around me. The code is pretty simple, “There are two sides to every coin”. This very simple philosophy can be applied to a plethora of things in life. It keeps your mind open, it keeps you from instant judgements, it prevents prejudice, and it drastically will reduce failures of all kinds. I’d want my younger self to have this mental power much sooner to deal with things to come. Even though my younger self looked a bit puzzled I moved on. Not knowing how much time I would have.
The process of hurt blurted out of my mouth. Hurt will happen. People will hurt you. Expect to be hurt but DON’T let it make you give any less love. As my dear mother says, “Your rewards will be in heaven”. I found this to be a very slow and painful life lesson that I wish I’d conquered much sooner. Always being shocked when someone close hurt me or when that knife in the back really catches you off guard. As we get older we close people off, trust people less, have less friends…our circle gets so small that sometimes there isn’t anyone around. I’ve experienced this and done this very action. It really is a natural reaction to “circle the wagons” but if we do that and don’t experience the gift of giving our love to others we miss one of the true joys in life and one that is unique to the human experience. Not sure if that one took; his look of puzzlement went to deer in the head lights!
So, feeling like my time was over I simply left him with this, “In this world, dark times will come and go, keep yourself grounded and balanced, look above to God, follow your heart, and survive the storm.” For me that would be the best advise because I relish my journey. I wouldn’t want to veer my younger self from the path. “Enjoy the Journey” would be my last words. This is where I go slinking into the shadows and disappear! Oh, the look on my younger self’s face, you should see it!
Did he listen? Would your younger self listen? Life’s a journey, enjoy the path.
About the Author
Jax Menez Atwell plays The Scavenger. Jax has more than ten years of investigative experience in law enforcement agencies in Arizona and California. His investigative law enforcement experience and training include under-cover operations, narcotics, SWAT, person and property crimes, etc. Jax has been a private investigator since 2008 specializing in the hard to solve cases such as cold cases, civilian, business and government investigations. Jax was additionally part of a team of three investigative team that explored missing people in History Channel’s “Missing in Alaska.” When Jax is not perusing the truth in his investigations he finds time to throw himself at acting roles. He has been in a number of productions since 2013. Films like “.357”, “New World Order: The End Has Come” and another Montana made film “The Big Muddy” western series. Plus more. Jax brings with him a lot of energy, enthusiasm and a fierce work ethic.