Chained to the Past

If a tear in the fabric of spacetime appeared in front of you and deposited an 18-year-old version of you into your living room, would you immediately give that person complete control over your life? Would you let them make all decisions in your life?

I would probably be dead inside of a week if I did that. I’d certainly be broke, and probably also some sort of a social pariah. So no, I don’t want 18-year-old-Johnny in charge of my life.

A surprising number of people, however, allow themselves to be completely chained by decisions their 18-year-old self made.

When you were a teenager, you made some assumptions about the world and chose a political affiliation as a result. Ever since, you’ve held it without reexamining it. Maybe your teenage self chose to spend a few (hundred) thousand dollars on getting sorted into a particular career path. Teenage you agreed to go get shot and shoot back. Something.

Some of those things came with obligations you can’t undo. You have to pay back student loans, serve the term of your enlistment, and deal with the silly tattoo you got of a political slogan. But you don’t have to renew those obligations!

You don’t have to give those decisions a single ounce more weight than they already have. You don’t have to stay in the career just because you paid a high entrance fee. You don’t have to reenlist if you don’t want. You don’t have to keep voting the way a tattoo or a t-shirt you got as a teenager tells you to.

In other words, that teenager isn’t in charge of you. Don’t chain yourself to who you were when you didn’t know who you would someday be.

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