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Thread: How would you most surprise your younger self?

  1. #1
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    Default How would you most surprise your younger self?

    The therian daily thought thread got me thinking about the ways I’ve changed over the years and how surprising or unsurprising who I am now would be to who I was in high school.

    So how about you? Pick some younger version of yourself, whatever age, and think about what about your current self would most surprise them. What would disappoint them? What would be a relief or a delight?

    I’ve thought about this before because I believe my high school self would scoff at my facial piercings and be startled to learn I’ve grown to genuinely enjoy Linkin Park, haha. I had a much more standard appearance in high school and probably even thought of a lot of piercings and stuff as silly or vain. And the emo thing was pretty off putting to me, so I took a lot of music in that style as just too whiny.

    I am not sure what my younger self would make of my much shorter haircut, too. I really liked my shaggy mane back then, and was really nervous about changing it.

    I’d like to think I’d be really proud of how much more fit and athletic I’ve gotten! But younger me would probably be really put off by my adult enjoyment of alcohol - not that I’m some kind of wild partier. I just used to be kind of judgmental about any drug use, I think.

    And I think middle-school me would be very satisfied that I’m still kind of a weeb.

    I think younger me would also be surprised, maybe disappointed, that I don’t have a PhD, haha. I used to get all my self esteem from being a good student and absolutely wanted to win at school by getting a PhD.

    I’m sure there’s other things that would not be too big a surprise - gender shit I didn’t figure out until my mid-20s, animal-people stuff, relationship preferences and whatnot.

    So how about you?

  2. #2

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    This might be a strange answer, but I think younger-Sol would be most surprised about how... not... angry I am? A lot of mental work's been done over here to get to a healthier and more mindful place! Honestly, I imagine having a chat with my younger self quite often. I think it would be a nice conversation. I'm a lot more secure in myself.

    Aaand on a less serious note, I think my younger self would immediately ask about my creative projects-- we could probably have a nice dialogue going from the differences in story-writing and how characters have changed over the years and all that. I'd love a reminder on what cool new ideas I had back then, which ones I kept vs. discarded. That and art progression

    As for therianthropy I'd just show them what I've figured out now and let them draw their own conclusions. It would not be a surprise.

  3. #3

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    Zed: I went through a huge pro-Gamergate anti-SJW phase as a kid, so I think younger me would be most surprised by how I made a 180 degree flip in my political views and also ended up being a queer transgender nonhuman.

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    Past me would be most surprised about my political orientations, I suspect. I was always left-ish, but younger me didn't really even have an idea of anticapitalism as an actual ideology. "Slightly more left than Obama" was simply as far left as politics existed, as far as I knew. Kind of low hanging fruit, but it's true; what can I say? They'd also be surprised (and disapprove) of how much music I listen to, and what genre. When I was younger I basically only enjoyed Celtic and New Age nature music (and enjoyed both only quietly). These does I have a higher tolerance for loud sounds, which probably hasn't been great for my hearing, and have an expanded genre range.

    They would be shocked that I even considered touching Twitter, and probably pretty surprised at my current relationship with the housecats, which is more or less non-existent. For whatever reasons these ones don't enjoy cuddling with me.

    That I'd gotten worse at long-form writing would disappoint them. They never would have expected that I'd grow so used to IRC roleplay that my other writing skills would atrophy. Oh, and they'd be surprised that I don't do glassworking anymore.
    "If you are worthy of his affection, a cat will be your friend but never your slave. He keeps his free will though he loves, and will not do for you what he thinks unreasonable; but if he once gives himself to you, it is with absolute confidence and fidelity of affection." -Theophile Gautier

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    This might be a strange answer, but I think younger-Sol would be most surprised about how... not... angry I am? A lot of mental work's been done over here to get to a healthier and more mindful place! Honestly, I imagine having a chat with my younger self quite often. I think it would be a nice conversation. I'm a lot more secure in myself.

    Aaand on a less serious note, I think my younger self would immediately ask about my creative projects-- we could probably have a nice dialogue going from the differences in story-writing and how characters have changed over the years and all that. I'd love a reminder on what cool new ideas I had back then, which ones I kept vs. discarded. That and art progression

    As for therianthropy I'd just show them what I've figured out now and let them draw their own conclusions. It would not be a surprise.
    Not at all strange! That’s a great answer. It made me realize I feel the same - I actually had quite a temper when I was younger, though that was largely the result of incessant bullying by my older brother.

    Very cool! It is fun to kind of look back at who you were and how far you’ve come, isn’t it? I also think it’s helpful in thinking of what my trajectory is and what other things I could still work on.

    Zed: I went through a huge pro-Gamergate anti-SJW phase as a kid, so I think younger me would be most surprised by how I made a 180 degree flip in my political views and also ended up being a queer transgender nonhuman.
    I too am surprised to hear that! Clearly if you meet your former self, you must engage in fisticuffs.

    Past me would be most surprised about my political orientations, I suspect. I was always left-ish, but younger me didn't really even have an idea of anticapitalism as an actual ideology. "Slightly more left than Obama" was simply as far left as politics existed, as far as I knew. Kind of low hanging fruit, but it's true; what can I say? They'd also be surprised (and disapprove) of how much music I listen to, and what genre. When I was younger I basically only enjoyed Celtic and New Age nature music (and enjoyed both only quietly). These does I have a higher tolerance for loud sounds, which probably hasn't been great for my hearing, and have an expanded genre range.

    They would be shocked that I even considered touching Twitter, and probably pretty surprised at my current relationship with the housecats, which is more or less non-existent. For whatever reasons these ones don't enjoy cuddling with me.

    That I'd gotten worse at long-form writing would disappoint them. They never would have expected that I'd grow so used to IRC roleplay that my other writing skills would atrophy. Oh, and they'd be surprised that I don't do glassworking anymore.
    Oooh, the political thing is interesting. Actually, you’ve just made me realize that I’ve dramatically changed my opinions on a number of things - hunting, drugs, and prisons in general come to mind. I was such a goody-two-shoes and bleeding heart of a kid that I had really un-nuanced ideas that hunting was just brutality, drugs were Bad, Mmkay, and prison is where you go if you’re Bad (Tm).

    There was definitely a kind of painful transition for me in developing more complex views of some of those things, but I’m clearly standing on much more sturdy ground now, without a kid’s simplistic thinking. And I think it’s helped me be more compassionate.

    That’s really cool about your expanded musical tastes!! I’ve branched out a bit, but I still listen to mostly the same genres (and often, the same bands!) as I did in high school!

  6. #6
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    Very young me would have expected me to be married with children by now, I had plans for a largeish family and everything when I was a kid. They would be surprised and maybe a bit disappointed to meet a broke manchild who never holds down a conventional reationship.
    I thought I'd have a job doing what I like too, and would be surprised to meet a neet whose terrified of working for someone else.

    Teen me would find me kinda cool I think? They'd be pleasantly surprised by my social circle both irl and online. They'd be relieved by that because I was a loser as that age. They'd enjoy my hobbies and would be really pleased with my art skills and I'm sure they'd lose their shit when I showed them my mermaid tail. But they'd also think I was a bit crazy and cringe in some areas, would laugh at me for the whole therian thing (but secretly think it kinda cool too). But also be a bit disappointed by the whole childless neet thing.

    Early 20s thought I'd be on the road to some NB transition with baritone and such by now. Sorry I chickend out

  7. #7
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    What a fun thread idea!

    I feel like in so many ways I haven't changed too much since high school (or even middle school). I'm still into alternative fashion; still into gaming, anime, and cosplay; still like the same broad range of music (and still equally bad at seeking it out lol). I think younger me would love my tattoos, be surprised I still don't have any piercings, and would love the way I have my apartment decorated (which I might describe as some conglomeration of queer/fandom/pastel goth vibes).

    I think younger me would be happy/proud of what I've done academically in terms of ongoing success, working on my PhD, and following through with nonhuman research stuff. (As an aside, I super relate to what you said, Kiso, about younger you wanting to "win at school by getting a PhD." At this point I'm invested in my PhD for other reasons, namely getting to do the research I care about, but I can't pretend that wasn't part of the motivation especially when I was younger lol.)

    High school me, especially freshman/sophomore me, would be SHOCKED at who I'm married to! My mate and I were friends in high school, but the beginning of our friendship was a bit tumultuous. I actually still have an old journal entry from back then in which I described him as "an arrogant bully" - we laugh about that often now XD

    I think younger me would be surprised at both how much more confident I've gotten and how much I still significantly struggle with social anxiety. I'm much better at speaking up in professional contexts, and I've made some great friends in grad school (whereas I didn't make any in undergrad). I'm also still terrified to talk to new people and regularly deal with physiological anxious symptoms like heart racing, blushing, etc. Actually, for whatever reason I've gotten a lot more anxious about participating in nonhuman communities and get really self-conscious whenever I make forum posts or talk in discord servers. I think that would surprise younger me 'cause I have so many fond memories of spending endless hours on Werelist and other forums as a teenager, reading and posting without much, if any, anxiety. I think they'd be proud of me for trying to push through that and still participate/talk with people, though! Younger me was much more likely to just fully avoid anxious situations, whereas current me has gotten better at managing and pushing through anxiety.

    And to end on a more lighthearted note, very young me would be thrilled to know I have a cat. I was always very allergic, so part of my childhood was learning to accept that I would never be able to get a cat. But a couple years ago we got a hairless cat, and he doesn't bother my allergies at all. He's also super sweet and cuddly ^^

  8. #8

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    Coming up on year 24 very soon so why not.
    How I'd surprise me depends on which me you ask, because I've changed several times. By age:
    5- YOU MEAN YOU NEVER GOT A DALMATIAN???
    10- so you never figured out how to make Avatar real and you still haven't gone to China
    15- wtf you still haven't figured out a career path yet!
    20- Wyoming, Wyoming, what sorry couldn't hear you was fantasizing about-- wait you never did another big trip back to Wyoming wtf is wrong with you no the 3 day thing doesn't count WE HAD PLANS, BIG ONES,

    so mostly I would disappoint my younger self, hmm

    but I've changed in better ways too. Like I can talk to people now without making a fool of myself instantly. But then I also have much worse anxiety about talking to people. I have a job finally, but it's low paying and boring. I can keep things to myself now instead of thinking everything has to be shared with everyone, but I overcorrected and now can't bring myself to share anything. So...still some way to go....

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