Step 5: Use Adolescent Memories Instead of Repeating Them
When we look back on adolescence, we can learn from the memories it evokes. Just a peek at your high school yearbook picture may bring up feelings of awkwardness, uneasiness, volatility and instability. "How weird I looked!" Or, "How strange I felt!" Our self-criticism at that time is a close rival to the kind of harsh judgment we place on ourselves at midlife. The transitions during both phases are difficult, filled with confusing physical experiences, mixed cultural messages and chaotic emotions. As much as we may long for our youth, there's no way we want to be 15 again. We may yearn for the smooth skin, the energy and the sense of possibility. Sure, those are the memories of adolescence we tend to nostalgically recall. But it might serve us well to also remember how we did???and did not???cope and use that knowledge to manage our feelings now. We have not gotten this far in life to get stuck feeling like teens in turmoil. This time around, we can avoid some of the impulsive, irrational decisions we made while feeling so topsy-turvy. Maybe we can get through these new transitions with fewer bumps and bruises, especially ones that are so hard to heal.