The Day I Met My Seventeen Year-Old Self
What would you say to your seventeen year-old self if you met them face to face? One strange afternoon I had such an experience. Drawn from the new gift book Reflect with Sheridan, this is the third of a five-part video series exploring the book’s themes of joy, wonder, meaning, belonging, compassion, callings, seasons, change and hope.
One Surreal Afternoon
One strange afternoon in June I found myself teleported back in time. One moment, the forty-two-year-old me was sitting in my lounge. The next, I was standing in a nightclub in 1989, face to face with my seventeen-year-old self.
I had relived this night many times in my memory, so defining a moment it was. But now I watched it happen again before my eyes. Seventeen-year-old me was taking part in a DJ competition. He stood in his white shirt, jeans, sneakers, and gelled hair, in front of two turntables and hundreds of people. This was the first big risk he’d ever taken – a shy boy performing for a crowd, with either glory or humiliation about to follow.
Seventeen-year-old me started his seven-minute set, mixing one song into another, then cutting into a third. The crowd responded well, but they couldn’t see what I could: all the hopes, dreams, and insecurities inside that skinny kid. How lonely he felt around those “cool” people. How desperately he wanted to become someone.
What Would You Tell them?
Imagine for a moment that you were given a time machine. Would you go forward to see how your life had worked out, or back to fix things you’d messed up? While physicists keep the possibility of time travel open, it seems no one has experienced it yet. We have the present, that’s all, and can only travel back as far as our memories take us, or forward as far as our imagination reaches.
So there was no Tardis or silver DeLorean whisking me back to 1989 on that strange June afternoon. Someone had uploaded a video of that old DJ competition to YouTube. I had randomly found it, then sat stunned watching my seventeen-year-old self on screen.
I’ve wondered since what I would say to that lad if I could reach out and tap him on the shoulder from the future, knowing now how important that night would be, how his search for significance was a veiled search for the spiritual, and that a mere year from then he’d be found by Someone he wasn’t knowingly searching for. “Your life is going to look different from how you imagined,” I might say. “But don’t fret. You’re going to be in good hands.”
Get 70 stories on joy, compassion, wonder, callings and more in Reflect with Sheridan, my new gift book.