TED Conversations

Gerald O'brian

TEDCRED 50+

This conversation is closed.

If you could go back in time and meet yourself as a kid, what would you do?

(Whatever you do won't change who you are now, since this past is one of another universe, so never mind about butterfly effect).

Share:
  • thumb
    Oct 21 2011: I was going to say nothing but then I read your little message in brackets. I would inform myself as a kid that people like him are bullied and looked down upon in the early years of life but that is not a reflection of how the real-world will see him. In fact the people who bullied him are still massive losers. I think my younger self needs some real cheering up rather than life lessons from his older self. I'd also tell him that all that his parents said about dating turned out to be true and in a decade from now, all his complaints about his love life throughout adolescence would be all made redundant by the greatest of girls.

    I'd then go to see myself from 3 years ago and say "do some more Java in your spare time, dumbass." (futile as it may be given that I can't alter the past).
    • thumb
      Oct 27 2011: Hey, not over-reacting, but I am deeply touched by your desire to your own past. :'-) Just if..... it is possible to happen to travel time. Somehow, I have faith technology would advance more and knowledge can expand to reach this level.
  • thumb
    Oct 15 2011: would run after dragon flies , butter flies of different colours of my kid time those I didn't see many many......... many days....
    • thumb
      Oct 15 2011: I had just that childhood in a village in India. I hardly spent on ground. Used to spend more on trees, swimming in the rivers, ponds. Fly kites all noon than mugging up some laws of physics or doing routine mathematics. Spend days and hours to understand how rainbow is created without any certain to reflect light in the empty sky when I was 10 yrs old (our school did not have any "good" teacher or hi-fi gadgets to make us understand that. We did not have even a functional black board in the whole school).
      But later I realized that was/is not much helpful in the "real" world, not even the world of research, which is,rather was, supposed to be innovative and needed original thinking ability!
      • thumb
        Oct 15 2011: I just want back ability to be happy with silly reasons then smile , laugh from core of heart that only kids have other than their enormous power of being curious.
        • thumb
          Oct 15 2011: Yes, that's what I do now; mainly because I live my life in my own terms and enjoy "silly" things of life and then try to achieve which is "un-achievable".
          There is a famous quote, "if you teach a child to love even one single aspect of this world, there is much less chance for him to do any crime". I think that also teaches him to become happy for rest of his life, irrespective of his materiel or professional success.
          Most of the time we fail to decide what we want- "happiness" or "success". Initially many think that we can achieve both or naively think that "success" will bring "happiness"! Later we realize that those two issues are almost mutually exclusive. The reasons for your professional success may be the worst reasons for your shattered family life and unhappiness.
          That childhood lesson and later realization (after witnessing the world in different continents , from different angles) helps me a lot when I now groom & mentor my 3 year old kid. That is also one of the main reasons why I migrated and settled away from India. Lately I wrote an article on that issue, "Is India a better place to bring up kids?" (http://jaychatterjee.blogspot.com/2007/12/is-india-better-place-to-bring-up-kids.html) . You may like it (as situation in India and Bangladesh is not much different, at macro level)
  • thumb
    Oct 15 2011: Secretly buy some Apple stock for myself.
  • Oct 14 2011: I would ask myself why I didn't protect more kids that were bullied, I did protect them but could have done more.
  • thumb
    Oct 14 2011: I would give myself the biggest hug ever and remind myself that learning and education is my responsibility. I would compliment my courage and intelligence. And I'd remind myself that I am my best friend and not to worry about how many friends I do or don't have.
  • thumb
    Oct 18 2011: I would tell myself to be more self-confident, to have faith in what I am capable of, to have courage, to dare more, and that everything's gonna be ok. I want to show that little version of myself that a B is not a reason to start crying. I would also like to tell my teenager self that arguing with mom is not the nicest thing on earth. I would definitely try to keep my younger self from coloring her hair in this horrible lavenderish tone and to get contact lenses earlier than at the age of 16. It is sometimes a little creepy when I look at the old pictures, but I guess at the age of 12, fashion faux pas are OK. Oh, and I would tell my smaller self that I would keep the promise of not starting to smoke, although both my parents do. And to stop fighting with my sister, because eventually, we'd get along very well, but only see each other rarely, so it would have been better to value the time more we had had together at our parents' house.

    These are just small and personal things, and when I look at them, I see that they are quite irrelevant for... say, the future of humanity. But it's still a very intriguing what-if-mindgame.
  • thumb
    Oct 18 2011: Tell myself to focus on the things that really interest me rather than the things I feel I ought to do.

    Life has always been more open, more enjoyable and more balanced when I'v done that.
  • thumb
    Oct 17 2011: i still am one.
    • thumb
      Oct 18 2011: You're one in 2011, this is 2027. You belong to the past. In our present, your adult self is getting ready for time travel, looking forward to meet you.
  • thumb
    Oct 15 2011: Pillip, I agree with something you said about being like a dad to yourself.
    And in a philosophical way, it reminds me that when I had my kids I was experiencing exactly that time travel.
    Having my boys gave me the chance to be the father I wanted to have.

    But this aside, what would I do if I did meet my younger self? I'd probably benefit from just the oposite. Perhaps he has more stuff to teach me than the other way around... I'd love to refresh my memory about episodes of my childhood he would know details about.
    Yeah, this is what I'd do.
  • thumb
    Oct 15 2011: I would have knocked our neighbor's door & run away. It is because now their kids do the same with me.
  • Oct 15 2011: Everything I have experienced and all of the adversity I have overcame _created_ who I am. I am the summation of my experience (& genome). The child version of myself would gradually begin to diverge from who I would have been thereon out if I went back and tried to change my life in the slightest.

    The answer is: Nothing.
  • Oct 15 2011: Damn, what a moment to consider.

    I do not know if I would talk or listen.

    I'd probably just laugh. The both of us.

    I often wonder if, as a kid, I could have met my present self - how would I have responded? Would I have admired him? Would I have sought to emulate him? Would I be interested in what he is good at? Or would I not care? Would i overlook him? Would I criticize or look down on him? Nietzsche said that a great man was simply living his own ideal - am I living the ideal of the 8 year-old me? Perhaps more importantly - will I at 45 be living the ideal I currently possess at 22?

    I remember the sentiment I sometimes experienced as a Christian - the inconsolable guilt of having disappointed the Lord. Like I stabbed myself in the heart. But oh, OH, how such a grief pales in comparison to imagining looking yourself in the eye as a child and feeling suddenly the white hot guilt of - unrealized potential.

    But yeah, Gerald, I don't know - momentous occasions are best experienced spontaneously.

    I'd probably just laugh. The both of us.

    SEP
  • thumb
    Oct 14 2011: I would tell him to become a gamblin' man. And what girls to avoid. And that he would turn out ok. . I might try to toughen him up a bit too. Like, convince him to punch Brandon in the face for stealing his lunch money.(even if it hasnt happened yet)
  • thumb
    Oct 27 2011: I would listen intently what I had to say as a child. I would pore all my energies into listening and learning to myself as I had never known myself as a child. No preconceptions, no agenda. Just listen and learn and respect. Just taking my ideas as a child seriously, no matter how "silly", "naive", or "unrealistic" they may be.

    That alone would have a profound impact on me of the present and me as a child. How often do young children get listened to with such respectful intensity? I remember an uncle who listened to me this way when I was a child. It remains with me to this day.

    Good question you posed here.
  • thumb
    Oct 26 2011: If I could go back in time, I would not meet myself as a kid. It is not possible. (according to science)
    Well, however, if I do meet myself and am able to change things, I will tell her to avoid the major mistakes made in life. I will give her the list of those mistakes and tell her to follow the pathway of career that follows her talents so she can bloom the she's supposed to. :)
    • thumb
      Oct 27 2011: Just poking you here, but remember science told us the earth was flat. It was "not possible" to go around and arrive to the point of departure...

      What science tells us today is only what science knows this far about this amazing reality in which we exist.

      That's aside from the fact that one thing is science, and another one fiction (even though they often feed each other).

      Imagination bridges the gap between the two, and for that, congratulations, Gerald!
      • thumb
        Oct 27 2011: I do agree that in the future human will get to know better and better, but somehow I also believe that there is a limit to that.

        Well, who knows?...anything is possible.

        Imagination is the current solution for us now and forgetting the adverse past memories is another.

        By the way, I do miss the long, resourceful and inspiring conversation of yours on your first series of creativity discussion. Just saying :-)
        • thumb
          Oct 31 2011: Well, Gloria, you don't have to miss it :-)

          It is still going on, look for debate "Creativity in Action".

          Our goal now is to pick a project (or several) anywhere in the world and do something about it in a creative way, make a difference, apply what we learned and work together across the miles.
          If you want to be part of it, come on over and read the heading. This is just the beginning.
  • Oct 19 2011: um... I'm 17years old. ... even if I'm young, I want to go back to when I was young. Now I'm struggled to achieve my academic score. However, it is too hard. Because I didn't study hard when I was middle school student. I'm very hard and tired. So If I could go back, I'll study more hard. Also, I'll do my best to my family. After becoming older, I could realize that family is the best present in the world. There are nothing more important that family. I regret that when I was young , I was naughty boy...
  • thumb
    Oct 18 2011: Play----no more
  • thumb
    Oct 15 2011: I would tell myself that learning how to make intelligent, informed decisions is crucial to me being happy in life.
  • thumb
    Oct 15 2011: Not do it if science fiction is to be believed. If it was possible I would work with myself to have more self esteem, do more research on what kind of job I would love (i.e. go directly to teaching and not engineering), and find out more about the celtic religious beliefs.
  • thumb
    Oct 15 2011: I would ask my parents and teaches (at least those whom I respected) to teach me "reality" than ethics, morality and honesty. I wish I were groomed differently as a kid!
  • thumb
    Oct 15 2011: Hey Gerald. What would you do?
  • thumb
    Oct 15 2011: In Reply to James Geeeze mate take it easy on yourself. You were only a kid. It sounds like you were hero enough. By the way if you go back. Please dont encourage yourself to take on the bullies. The answer would probably be:
    You were only a kid and you were probably scared. That's OK.
  • thumb
    Oct 15 2011: I'd make me my best friend. Would I feel his feelings? Would it change who I am now? Would i suggest to do things differently. I might suggest that I/He ask the girl i never asked out but always wanted too ask out. OK and He does it and Yep I probably got it right the first time. and so My thinking that I might improve this young person's life might not prove correct. Maybe better to leave him to stuff it up on his own? Could i tell him i was him? Nah he'd never believe it.
    My tendency would be too act like a Dad, since that was definitely lacking. Would I go? Perhaps if i went back i might be more interested in all the others back then. Perhpas i would forget myself.
    In reality i often go back. Re enact and re do history. Though these days most of the child stuff seems less and less. I usually get stuck in yesterday or two hours ago , these days.
    There is something beautiful however about this concept. I would love to go and see me perhaps just to observe in annonymity. see myself childlike and mischievous. I would love to see me young, though i suspect there would be unbearable moments.
  • Oct 15 2011: Explain my situation to myself and that everything is o.k. - I would also tell myself that money DOES matter and that, despite the movie "Pretty Women," love does not equal sex.
  • thumb
    Oct 15 2011: If you could go back in time and meet yourself as a kid, what would you do?

    Not go.
  • thumb
    Oct 15 2011: Tell her not to eat the steak in the freezer that smells a little funny.

    DON'T DO IT!

    Not sure what else.
  • thumb
    Oct 14 2011: I would give myself permission to fully be a kid and fly!

    See, I am having to catch up with being a kid now...
  • thumb
    Oct 14 2011: (James Kindler, for some reason the system did not post a replay under your answer. So here it goes:)

    You are a great guy. Your words are very touching...

    And that was not even your job! Shame on the people around that were not assuming their responsibilities and robbed you of some of the precious joys of that age!