A graphic image of a younger Johnnie pointing at an older version of himself.
Cover Image © Johnnie Weathersby III

Would “Younger You” Be Proud of You Now?

You know, I fixate on weird things every now and then. And today I’m just wondering if I’ve done a good job staying true to my core self as I’ve gotten older. And not the version of myself tainted by myself, but a more “pure” younger version of the afro-clad blogger. I’m talking about me when I was like 10.

Haha – you’re about to see photos of me when I’m around what I view as 10 year old me. There wasn’t a date or anything on the photos, so I’m honestly not sure how old I literally was in them, but… yeah… you get the point! Younger me/you vs. the current older versions of ourselves.

And if you’re wondering, yes – I’ve edited the photos a bit for the sake of presentation.

The Hopefulness of Youth

I was a very bright-eyed and bushy-tailed kid. As most of us were around that time.

The author as a kid standing in front of some grades on display at his school.

I REALLY try to hold on to that optimism as an adult and not let life beat me up too badly. I know that we all face issues of varying severity as we continue to grow each day – but try to hold on to whatever little glimmers of hope you have. And when you need to refill the tank, step back and try to recall what you love.

Holding on to a childlike sense of wonder can, at times, make all the difference in the world because you view everything through a lens of subconscious unlimited potential. I know we all had that at one time or another in our lives. Do you have that now? I fight for mine each day, and I encourage you to fight for yours.

Having Faith in Something Bigger

I have always told people that when it comes to me and dating someone (I promise this is going somewhere), the woman doesn’t necessarily have to believe in what I believe — but she has to believe in something (that’s not literal devil worship). I bring that up because I think that’s reflective of a core value I’ve tried to hold onto from my upbringing.

A kid giving a speech in church for Easter Sunday.

I grew up in church. Mom was a very active member in multiple committees at a few churches we attended in my childhood, and my dad was (and I think still is) a deacon. And while I’m nowhere near as active in my church-going these days, I still have my relationship with God. I have no shame in that, and I hope that belief of mine shines through to people at times based on my actions.

What is that for you? You don’t literally have to be involved in organized religion to believe in something and carry out that core piece of yourself in the ways you interact with the world around you. Having a purpose doesn’t necessarily translate into following any doctrine.

I encourage people to believe in SOMETHING because there are moments in life where your faith will be all that you have. Make the younger you, who believed in better days ahead and the good in themselves and others, proud.

I Never Minded Naps…

I know this makes me an oddball child – but naptime never really bugged me. Granted, I never really felt like I needed them – and I still don’t live in a state of low energy – but when I wanted to rest, I did that…

Johnnie taking a nap.  Or waking from one?


I encourage others to rest all of the time because I know one too many adults who act like they’re afraid of it. What’s the worst that can happen as you pause to relax and recharge? And I mean on a regular basis — not like, “You slept at work in the middle of an important shift and something broke or you missed a deadline.” You know when to sleep and when not to.

I mean, in those little moments of peace that you find every now and then — what’s wrong with chilling for 30-minutes to an hour and placing your head down on something soft (like that kickass Ninja Turtle pillow I’m slobbering all over in the photo above)?

Have Fun When You Can

Kids know how to do one thing better than most adults ever will: Have fun.

A younger picture of me holding a new video game system.

To be completely honest, I forgot how to do this for a while. Life had hit a low and I just stopped doing the things that brought me certain levels of joy for a bit. But I knew I had to get out of that funk or younger me would be ashamed!

What does fun look like for you? It evolves for all of us (for instance, I’m nowhere near as into videogames now as I used to be in the past), and it can be fun figuring out what you’re most into now.

Try different things. Meet new people. Go to places that you like. Whatever brings you some sense of freedom and flow is likely you having fun. Find it for the sake of your inner child.

Lastly – Be Creative

What’s that old saying by Picasso? “All children are born artists, the problem is to remain an artist as we grow up.” I think there’s a lot of truth in that.

A quick search on Google brought up a stat from a 2012 AdAge article… “In the U.S., 52% of respondents described themselves as creative …” And based on random times I hear adults talk about creativity, I think that stat still holds.

A kid holding up a how to draw book and a sketch pad.

A lot of us limit our definition of creativity at times and don’t realize that we can be creative in a lot of ways. It is not always about laying pencil to paper or writing something beautiful or sculpting or ART at all. Sometimes you can be creative in your careers, problem-solving, how you construct the life around you.

If you are a parent at this point in your life (which I am not), you’ve more than likely had to come up with your fair share of creative solutions to your children’s quirks and tantrums (and if you haven’t yet, I imagine that’s coming). I am just saying, give credit where credit is due.

This one is super important to me because a lot of how we go through this world starts in our heads. If you don’t think you’re creative at all, you won’t flourish and make ways where there are none. Our younger selves were definitely into hacking the world around them until they found a way to deal… We all should strive for that trait, too.

There were other, more embarrassing, images of myself that I could’ve shared with you all – but I decided to spare you pictures of me in underwear and the like (plus I don’t want people thinking I’m promoting sharing images of kids in their underwear on websites — even if it’s me). I think these conveyed the points I wanted to make with this one, though.

There is a wisdom in how simple the worldview of children is, and maybe we could all take a bit away from that… right now. Maybe a good place to start is by thinking about what inner-values younger versions of ourselves championed, and figuring out how we can materialize some of that today now that we have a bit more control over our lives. For those of you with kids, learn from the amazing little humans you’re raising.

Live the life you want to lead, people. Stay young at heart. Don’t “grow old” together with someone, but find someone who keeps you feeling young and spry. And other platitudes 😉

Peace, and thanks for reading.

The soundtrack for this post provided by…

Image Credits:
– All Images © Johnnie Weathersby III

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