Okay. I’ll admit it. I got a little bit curious before my latest copy of “Real Simple” hit the recycling bin, and I opened it.

I opened it right to the page where all the advertising is (of course – they put big thick plastic inserts into the middle of the magazine to make sure you ALWAYS open to the ads). I instantly put on my invisible “ad blinders” and looked to my left, where I saw an article entitled “Life Lessons: Good Read.”

That sounded like something more up my alley.

Author J.I. Baker, who wrote “Seeing Ghosts” and more recently, “The Empty Glass”

The article profiled author James Ireland (“JI”) Baker. He writes in a reflective style about a recent trip he took down memory lane in search of a letter a much younger JI had received from a writing mentor.

JI never found the letter, but he found lots of other memorabilia that, far from calling up past memories, actually drew a blank. I found this quite interesting!

I’ve also had the not infrequent sensation – as I have strengthened in my inner and outer health, in my relationships, in my sense of self, in my perspectives and preferences, in my life goals and all the rest – that the me who used to be is a) no more and b) a stranger to the me who is now.

According to JI Baker, I’m not the only one. Whew. 😉

He writes with fondness, compassion, curiosity, and some confusion about letters addressed to “Little Jimmy” – a nickname once favored and now all but forgotten. “The letters were like bulletins from a life I no longer remembered, sent to a person who no longer exists”, he muses.


I look back at me-then and feel the same. Who WAS that person – so mixed up, so unhappy, so anxious, so lonely? Who was she – the one who was always alone but could barely tolerate her own company?

Who was that girl who hated the sound of her own name and the sight of herself in the mirror?

What part of me-now could’ve ever been her-then – a person who was so absorbed, so unnecessarily wrapped up in just staying alive (and not the kind with bouncy music and cool disco clothes) that she could ill afford any attention or energy to care for anyone else…..

I have no idea.

(And I mean this with all the compassion in my heart) – thank goodness.

Today’s Takeaway: Can you relate at all to JI Baker’s experiences of trekking back into his past? Do you ever think to yourself, “Who was that person with my name who lived 5/10/20 years ago at my address?” What (if anything) can you learn from looking back into your past about how important self-compassion, patience, self-care, setting goals, and choosing your priorities can be?