I can recall the big questions I wondered about as a child (I was a frequent and vivid wonderer):
What will I be when I grow up?
Who will I marry? (Will she be beautiful?)
Where will I live?
What will my kids be like?
How old will I be when I die?
I remember some of the promises I made to myself as a child:
I will let my kids stay up as late as they want to.
I will eat dessert whenever I want to.
I will become rich.
I will become famous.
Nobody will ever tell me what to do.
I didn’t keep any of those promises.
Less evolved Mitch (Mitch of only a few years ago) sometimes felt guilty about failing to live up to his childhood expectations. More evolved Mitch understands that I hold no obligations to my childhood self. Screw him. He didn't know what he was talking about. He was just a kid. Granted, he was a darn cute kid, but a kid nonetheless.
In retrospect, these are the questions I should have pondered as a child:
Will I be lucky enough to find real love? (I was)
Will I have my health? (I did for the first 38 years)
Will I lead a happy and contented life? (I have)
Will I have a fulfilling career? (for the most part, I did not)
Will I be a good person? (with some exceptions, I think I have been)
And these are the promises I should have made to myself when I was a kid:
I will not feel that life owes me anything, as it is a privilege to simply be alive.
I will not waste precious time on jealousy and hatred.
I will remember to stop and smell the roses.
I will not take my good fortune for granted.
I will be a contributing member of society.
I will live each day as if it will be my last.
I will be true to my family and friends.
I will not be mean spirited.
I will be a lifelong learner.
I will be reliable.
I will be humble.
Even if life becomes difficult, I will persevere.
Would I have kept these promises? Let’s just say that at age 46, I’m still a work in progress.
So, have I been true to my childhood self? If he could have seen the future, he would have considered his (my) life to be a failure. But childhood Mitch just wasn’t smart enough to understand what a good life looks like. How could he have? He was just a kid.