Huh? Instead of young boy in the mirror
A young version of me, so I started to tear up
He said "you need to cheer up, your mind need to clear up
You're already here, just be yourself from here up"
Then he disappeared and I felt something familiar
Something I was taught, something I had lost
If you are afraid, the fear that you gon' change some
All you gotta do is just remember where you came from
- Lupe Fiasco (Till I Get There)
A question that often comes up for anybody on the self-actualizing path is: "How should I treat my old friends who are not getting with my program? Is there a way to still be friends? Should I want to be?"
I consider a treasure any person who knew me when I was growing up. Through the years I haven't lost many of my high-school and college friends, and I share a most valuable form of friendship with those that I still see often.
One reason is because every time we get together, I get to access a previous version of myself. It's like they carry with them the vestiges of my past, one which I can handily refer back to and bounce new ideas off of.
There are so many moments and anecdotes from those years I can't possibly remember. As I grow older, I've noticed that I sometimes align my past memories with my present self and whitewash any shadow areas that may not fit with my current paradigm.
It's like a reverse reticular activation system: you prioritize those memories which best solidify your current self. You start thinking that you've always been the way you are, you've always batted 1000, etc.
So hanging with the old-school chums allows me, in a weird way, to be grounded in the present. Each one of them projects a part of my history into the interaction. I can look back and realize how far I've come (and hopefully, how far they have come too).
Besides, it's also a lot of fun to hang with the people who know you from way back.
In thinking of this topic of friends, I came around to regarding these get-togethers as Regression Parties. That's the weird term I would use to refer to a very specific way to manage my past and pay homage to the former self.
Instead of wondering whether or not you should accept that invite to hang with old friends, some of whom may be stuck in their ways and worldview, it's about looking at it as an opportunity to blend yourself into the future.
This is a way of letting your old friends, who may not be up to task of becoming better every day, get to meet the new you and either share the vision with you or quietly decide to drop out of the friendship.
There are also psychological elements that come into play here. If you can become conscious of a fully delineated timeline of your history, and try not to actively remove any of the bridges linking the past, you'll become better at understanding yourself.
Now, it's not like I go out there and say I'm throwing a "Regression Party." It's just a helpful viewpoint that I keep in those situations. I'll use a special occasion as an excuse to bring people together on the same old stomping grounds from the days of yore or a similar environment.
Some people will be unsure of how to react around your focus and drive, and after some time they will default into becoming resentful. Many more will celebrate your achievements and will feel liberated to ask for advice on their own visions and plans.
Finding the time to reminisce and asking questions about how you used to be could be extraordinarily helpful. To your delight (and sometimes chagrin) you'll be remembered of anecdotes which may seem trivial to the friend relating it, but may actually be the piece you need to thoroughly understand your present situation.
Now, by no means should you ever give yourself permission to "regress" to any harmful behaviors you may have had just to be able to relate to your old chums. Addictions are a serious issue, and your nervous system is predisposed to take up a past behavior again rather easily.
And I'm totally in favor of cutting ties with people and places that may have brought you down and weren't conducive to your best life. Sometimes you should not look back.
Some people have gone through traumatic experiences and I'm not advocating that you should relive them or reenter toxic grounds. Perhaps this eloquent gentleman's post should be your stock response in those cases:
"I don’t want to hear about your lives. I don’t want to know how you've changed since high school. I don’t want to hear about your jobs, your spouses, your children. I’ve got a good life now, and I cannot imagine a reason in the world why I would pollute that world with contact with any of you."
In the other cases, you should go in with the intention of coming full circle and seeking closure where it may be needed. I know that sometimes I've felt a bit unfulfilled when I haven't been able to close threads that have remained opened for years. Suddenly an ex-girlfriend will come out of the woodwork and try to rekindle what we had or "check up" on me. A regression party is a way to introduce the present to the past, just another way to clear the brush for the impending future while remembering where you came from.
Give it a try sometime. If your old high school or college buddies are planning an outing, put on this viewpoint. Absorb both the past and the present and then stand back to see the delightful, and sometimes surreal ways, they intermingle.
P.S. And if you are lucky enough to admire your parents or a particular relative, try to never miss a chance to see them among their old college chums. They may be embarrassed when certain details of their past are revealed, but if you're like me, you'll come back from those events respecting and admiring them even more.
"One reason is because every time we get together, I get to access a previous version of myself. It's like they carry with them the vestiges of my past, one which I can handily refer back to and bounce new ideas off of."
Never thought about old relationships like this before, but I really like it. Very cool.
It will always be messy and inexact when apploed in real life, but that's why I put a lot of stock in memory hierarchy and the ability to retrieve things encoded a long time ago. If a lot of that stuff has already gone "off-line" in the minds of longtime friends, imagine decades from now. The regression party concept can help (theoretically) retrieve an older construct of yourself before it naturally disappears and is supplanted by a more recent construct of yourself. They key is not to lose touch with the kernel of truth one carried in the olden days, and mining a long friendship is probably the best way to do it.
I've found that journaling also helps preserve those constructs. However, there are many points in my past where I didn't keep a journal. In this case, when I'm lucky enough to have a regression party which allows me to access those constructs, journaling immediately afterwards would be a good idea.
Colonel Sanders feels worthy enough to meet Alice Cooper (via)
This is particularly relevant to the entertainment industry, but can be applied to all fields.
It's amazing to me that even with all the proven ways to amplify their chances of success, most aspiring artists have no idea that there's a game being played around them that they can't see. Everything they do and say keeps them out of the big leagues.
The big one I screen for is when someone I just met feels the need to namedrop.
Have you ever had an incredibly amazing day or week, with huge breakthroughs… and then thought it would be permanent, when it wasn't?
I've spent immense time investigating this phenomenon. It's as aggravating as anything else imaginable. You're flying along, doing incredibly well, it seems like you've turned up to a higher level of production, productivity, creativity, teamwork, whatever -- only to sink back down, and sometimes worse than before for a while.
What causes this?
Well, there's old fashioned complacency or overconfidence -- which is why Tokugawa Ieyasu made his famous quote that, "after victory, tighten the straps on your helmet."