Not that I would have listened

On the night of the 2013 perigee-syzygy (i.e. Super Moon), what better time to tune in to Neil Young’s Harvest (1972)?

moon_11_16o3jmj-16o3jmuWhile listening I flash-backed to a time, nearly 29 years ago, when this was the album I would put on the turn-table when I was alone; and usually feeling lonely in that aloneness. And it suddenly struck me: I now understood the lyrics. Also, being alone was a good place to be.

I then reflected on that younger me, the one who thought they knew what Neil was singing about. The woman-child who was unaware of the challenges that life held just around the corner. What would I have said to the younger me? As it was my 21st year, it would have been a good time to receive some wise counsel, some pointers on how to better navigate life.

Such advice would have been timely. As I was nearing my turning point; the moment just before I plunged into some deep holes, left struggling to deal with huge life lessons for the next 20 years. A wise word may have helped me to make different choices, which would have led to an easier path. Life is great now, but surely the young me would have been grateful to have had some guidance, to side-step those seemingly bottomless holes.

Perhaps I would have said:

  • Embrace aloneness, there is a lot of wisdom hidden in those quiet times that you spend with yourself. Don’t confuse it with loneliness. Anyway, it will be decades before you get some me-time; don’t waste these moments you have now.
  • You know that next motorbike you are saving up for? Buy it now and go for a really long road trip, an adventure of a lifetime. Because babies aren’t safe on the back of a bike. Perhaps its time to get a car license?
  • Go easy on nights out: dance more, drink less.
  • Don’t stare at the mirror wishing you were thin and beautiful, or that you didn’t inherit brown skin and crazy curly hair. You will never be as thin or beautiful as you are now, so just accept who you are and have some fun with your youthfulness. That crazy curly hair you will have for life; you will grow to like it.
  • Stop jumping from one job to another, its time to think about laying the foundations for a career. On second thoughts, keep jumping but do it a bit more strategically.
  • Keep that independent spirit, it will serve you well. Drop the stubbornness, though.
  • You will always have a meek-streak, but there will be times that you will need to be a tigress; especially when protecting your young. Learn to know when to use this power, this sacred-anger. And use it with compassion.
  • Yes, you will be single for most of your life. Don’t fret, this will enable you a lot of freedom.
  • On the days that you think you can’t bear any more, that you are not strong enough to carry the load of responsibility, remember that everything passes. And you are stronger than what you think.
  • It might annoy some people, but never stop questioning. Your hunger for knowledge and truth will be your true guide.
  • Don’t ever give up on your dreams, not even on your darkest days. You will need to learn to practice patience, for dreams don’t always arrive when we want them to. Just believe, and be prepared to work hard.
  • I may be ageing (I can see you looking at my flecks of grey) but I’m far from old. I’m enjoying my middle-youth; on the verge of jumping, yet again. However this time I’m not going to end up in a hole; for I have my sights on soaring high.

I have other words of wisdom that I am sure would be of use, if I had a moment with my younger self. Then I suddenly realised: I wouldn’t have listened. The younger me would have just ploughed ahead, and made the same types of mistakes.

And that’s ok, because I like who I am today. And as I am the sum total of all my experiences and learnings, then I readily accept what I have gone through: it’s moulded me, been the best teacher I could have hoped for. For that, and more, I am grateful.

Looks like the clouds have shifted; I am off to gaze at that Super Moon a bit more.

Image: Harvest Moon. Downloaded 23 June 2013 from