A Message to My Younger Self: Try Harder


In an earlier post, I made mention of my Story Box Full of Regret that contained all the stories that had never been completed. My goal is to finish them all before I shuffle off this mortal coil, so every now and then I dip into the box and reread some of my earlier works. Most times I cringe at the contents, but on the rare occasion, I marvel at the workings of my younger mind. I only mention this because I came across a story written—judging by the handwriting and the browning pages of the composition notebook—in my late teen years. It was an H.G. Welles The Time Machine rip-off (*ahem* I mean homage) about a brilliant young man who somehow managed to make a jacket out of time, hence the story’s title, The Very Fabric of Time Itself.

Sometimes I record myself reading these stories and listen to them during my routine morning strolls and one passage stuck with me:

I have no doubt that my story will end in very much the same manner as it began, with a secret. And as I stand at the crossroads, caught at the precise moment where a lifetime of secrets left untold should either be revealed or die forever, I stare at the younger man, eyes full of dreams that have not yet been crushed ‘neath the heel of reality, and find it difficult to believe that I was once him.

As I let the weight of this passage settle in, I began wondering about sending a message to my younger self and how difficult a process it would be to write. The younger me, we’ll call him Li’l Madd for the sake of this post, was a card-carrying member of The Bronx Chapter of the International Skeptics Society who wouldn’t have believed:

  1. The letter came from the future, and more importantly,
  2. That his future self had written it.

Also, I’m sure if I flat out told him of the obstacles he would face, that information would be redacted by some faceless wage slave at the Temporal Post Office, so the message would have to be as succinct as possible. I’d have to offer Li’l Madd one simple, yet key, piece of advice.

The next problem was offering the exact piece of advice Li’l Madd would listen to. That’s a toughie, that one. Yup. Yessiree, Bob. Sigh. I guess it would all have to fall under the category of Try Harder, as in:

Love fiercely and try harder not to break hearts. Befriend the friendless and try harder not to burn bridges. Laugh more and try harder not to take life too seriously. Follow your bliss and try harder to stave off the darkness. Turn off the TV and try harder to think deeply. Take your time but try harder to avoid procrastination. Dream bigger and try harder to stop worrying about dreams not coming true. And stay away from Jane Hester. Sure, she’s pretty to look at but she’s nothing but trouble and It. Will. Not. End. Well.

I’m sure that last bit will get redacted, but here’s hoping!

Author’s Note: While Jane Hester most certainly exists, Jane Hester’s name is not Jane Hester. I wouldn’t out anyone like that, not even Jane Hester. But if you ran into Jane Hester in the real world, you’d know exactly who she was, without even checking her scalp for the Mark of the Beast.

35 responses to “A Message to My Younger Self: Try Harder

    • Jane’s father is Jacques Filippe Hester III, Commander in Chief of the Strategic Historical Infernal Temporal Headquarters of the Expropriation and Adjudications Dynastic Sovereignty, so, in answer to your question, yes, he most definitely would be cruel enough to inflict his special little princess’s torture on you again and again and again just to make her happy. Take it from one who knows.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. In your usual fashion, you offer up an insightful idea, adding in just the right amount of humor to avoid getting too heavy. This inspired me to write a letter to my past and future selves so I can have a three way conversation with myself and try to live the best well-rounded life possible. Love the passage from your “younger” story, by the way. And we all have Jane (or John) Hesters in our lives, I think. Those pretty but deadly diversions meant to teach us a lesson.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This really got me playing movies in my head. Do you ever have thoughts about past experiences that aren’t traumatic, I mean they don’t scar you but the stay with you and make you feel embarrassed over things that nobody would understand but you because they’re stupid petty shit that common sense tells you you should let go of but for some reason you can’t. Your solution makes the most sense, talking to your younger you and maybe helping them process it a little better so it doesn’t become a lingering thing. Thank you for this! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • We all have those moments we relive in our heads, Cuca, and you’re right, even if you could succinctly put the experience into words the chances that anyone can truly grasp the effect it had and has on you are slim. And they can sometimes be extremely hard to let go but sometimes they’re the necessary evil that strengthens and shapes us into the person we’re meant to become. There’s peace in there somewhere, if you look hard enough. Cheers for the read and for sharing!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Hey! I married Jane Hester so I need you to back off and stop bad-mouthing my wife on your little diary thingy here! She’s not a bad person just a no nonsense person who might have a slight SLIGHT issue with empathy. So, consider this my Cease & Desist notice, before lawyers get involved!

    Liked by 2 people

    • You’re sleeping with the enemy, so what do you want, dude? A gold star? A cookie? Jane Hester is the destroyer of all that’s pure and good…and you’re about to find that out the hard way! Now, I’m not the praying sort but I’ll make an exception for you because you’re going to need it when she starts wearing your immortal soul as a shawl! Rest in peace, my friend. Rest in peace.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I believe the key message here is self-love. Love yourself enough to come to terms with your past, to enjoy your present, and to not give up until you have the future you want and sometimes you have to have conversations with your past and make piece with the younger you in order to straighten out the present you to become a better future you. Thoughtful post, as always, thank you! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My message would be: Listen and pay attention (to people, to how they get out of trouble, why they got into trouble, how they are looking at you) because you can learn a lot when you pay attention. In addition, follow your intuition because it rarely fails you. If you get a funny feeling about something or someone, believe your gut feeling. Go after your goals and dreams (be realistic about what you are trying to reach) even if people try to tell you that you are not capable of reaching them —- if you KNOW and FEEL that you can reach a certain goal, then go for it. Don’t pay attention to people who tell you to give up your goals and dreams, they are distractions in your way. Keep an eye on your goal and go for it!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. And who’s being all good thoughts and should have done it better or tried harder. Well dear sir, I think you can huff and puff all you want, but you’re definitely not a bad wolf and the three little pigs aren’t as silly as they seem, and telling one’s younger self something is like shouting at a wall to move. Saving one’s breath would be better. And Jane Hester (the beast) might be reading this…🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Now I get it. I must have been blind not to see it before. Here you were right under my nose with your faux kindness and pretense of friendship, trying to get me to drop my guard so that you could launch your brand new assault, isn’t that right…THE LIVING REINCARNATION OF JANE HESTER?!

      Well, Janeveen or HesterGill or whatever you’re calling yourself these days, I’ve got news for you: this isn’t fourth grade and I’m not going to let you pull me into your web of deceit and spark another war of boys versus girls like the one that nearly cracked our grade school in half and left it precariously balanced on the precipice of a hell-mouth!

      At first, I was afraid, I was petrified…I think you know the rest.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Hahhahahaha! It was only a matter of time before you figured out who I was, Rhyan. I appreciate the post dedicated to me. Jane Hester lives on…
        And you stop being such a drama king. Though your words make me laugh heartily. I think that’s a great thing.
        And we continue…one, two, three, four… 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Great advice for Li’l Madd, and man, you had some awesome writing chops as a teenager! As for Jane Hester, she seems to get around, eh? I could have sworn I’ve known her in several various incarnations (all bad, all the time). I’m not sure what I’d tell Li’l Zontar (Zontar was one of my high school nicknames), but it would probably amount to “Don’t watch so freaking many 1950s B-movie sci-fi schlockfests about Martians named Zontar…” I think that advice can apply to all of us. *nods sagely* 😀 Always love your insights, good sir. Keep ’em coming. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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