There’s this thing going on in social media where people are posting their old headshots.
Me, I jumped right on that bandwagon, posting one of mine from the 90’s. It’s a younger, skinnier, flawless-skinned version of me. And it has probably received the most “likes” of anything I’ve ever posted.
I could have left it at that and walked away with a win. But nooo. I had to comment on someone else’s headshot, someone I didn’t know when his photos were taken, someone whom I would not have recognized if I saw him walk right in front of me.
I said, “Who is that person?” about his headshot.
That, of course, got me thinking – who was the person in my photo?
Who was she, and what would I want to tell her? What do I wish she had known?
There’s the obvious - “buy stock in Apple,” but I’m not really talking about that kind of thing here. I’m talking about what would have made a difference in my trajectory, in the joy I experienced along the way, in my quality of life.
For starters, I would tell that Ilene that she was a stone cold fox and to take that out for a spin and have a little fun with it.
I wish that Ilene had an ounce of the self-approval that today’s version has. She might’ve sauntered.
I would tell that younger version of me that she was of equal value to any person she admired for any reason and there was nothing she could do to lessen that.
I wish the woman in that old headshot knew that speaking up wasn’t optional and that she was a leader, reluctant or otherwise.
I wish old headshot Ilene wasn’t so afraid to be seen.
I would tell her to laugh more. It’s good for your health.
I would let her know that time goes by exponentially faster with every passing year, and that most of what we fret about is of little consequence.
I would tell old headshot version of Ilene to have the difficult, pointed conversations, no matter how uncomfortable, because they grow relationships. I would tell her that vulnerability is a strength and a gift to those who receive it.
I would thank old headshot Ilene for surviving life with optimism and hope and a tireless belief in possibilities she could see no evidence of manifesting most of the time.
I would love to tell the old version of me some of the outrageous and amazing things we were gonna do together.
The Ilene in that picture dared to dream and dip a toe in the raging waters of a universe she feared more than trusted, but still, she did it.
I would tell old headshot version of Ilene that she’d look at that photo one day and smile, with a heart full of gratitude for miles traveled and lessons learned.
Still, the Apple thing is kind of a bummer…