It is prom season, the eternal spring dance of the young and beautifully dressed and coiffed. Parents are doling out hundreds of dollars for dresses, tuxedos, hairdos, manicures, shoes, corsages, limousines, jewelry, fancy dinners and picture packages. Often we wonder if it is worth it. We think about the total spent for just one prom in just one little city in America and what good works that small fortune would finance in pockets of poverty around the world. Then we see the faces of our youth, bright dreamy looks of Cinderella at the ball with her Prince Charming and we wouldn’t exchange it for anything.

Perhaps it isn’t their proms we are smiling about, but our own. One slide show in our mind – hauled out of the closet of youthful remembrances – and we are back in tacky makeup and pastel southern belle gowns with too many layers that resemble funeral home curtains from the waist down. Yikes!

We thought we looked good, exactly as we imagined we should look. But now we just laugh at it and sit back with a crooked grin as we reminisce about the other things we thought we knew about; kissing, drinking, dancing, petting – although not much of that could go on between all the layers of organza and lace.

Many hearts were broken around the prom and some of the memories will be bittersweet, although innocent when compared to today’s list of problems, aches and pains. That’s when we go into the great abyss known as ‘what if’…

What if I could go back and tell my younger self something – what would it be?

What if I could go back in time and know what I know today?

What if I could change one thing?

What if I hadn’t…

What if I had…

What if, what if, what if!!!

For a while these memories will be sustaining and bring such warm emotions that we will want to stay there in that time period, with the innocence of our inexperience and wallow in their richness. Then we will blush at things we remember all too well, and stay there just a little too long. Then it happens.

We will see who we are now – the woman inside of us who became this whole person because of all those insane, wonderful, scary, wrong, romantic, tearful, joyful, sad, maddening, crazy experiences. That’s when we return to ourselves and smile at our youth and know that we wouldn’t deprive them of this for anything and that we can also write a check to charity to offset the balance of extravagance, or volunteer at a shelter, or pay the rent of a neighbor who is having it a little rough right now.

Maybe we also want to spiff ourselves up a bit, because we want to feel as beautiful as we did on prom night long ago. We can’t go back, but we can bring our younger selves along with us on the journey we are taking now. Imagine the expression on her face if you were to whisper in her ear something you have done that was incredible. And if that something doesn’t immediately come to mind, go out and do it! Take her with you – you’ll need her fearlessness to sky dive, belly dance, or visit Europe alone.

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