While staying at my parents house over the holidays, I got the urge to go through some of my old papers that were in my closest. I found a folder with construction paper and little drawings and poems. I even had pen pal letters from 3rd grade, where we corresponded with undergraduates in elementary ed. At the time, they seemed like such big kids, but now it's funny to think that I'm older than they were at that time!
I came across a couple of things I was really proud of. One was a drawing and the other was 3-page play. I'm not sure how old the drawing was, but the play was from 1999 (8th grade). It was like I was seeing these items for the first time because it had been so long since I last saw them. The thing is, they were really good. It got me to thinking about all the stuff we criticize ourselves about. I probably picked at these projects back then, not realizing or appreciating my talent. I'm sure 15 years from now, I won't even remember the stuff I pick at myself about now, and if I rediscover some thesis draft or little picture I've drawn somewhere, I might really admire my younger self. If that's true, then maybe we should go ahead and cut ourselves some slack now and realize how talented and fascinating we are in the present. One of these days we will run out of 15 years of waiting time and have spent a decade and a half not appreciating our unique gifts.
Don't waste time. Appreciate your gifts now.