My youngest wanted to see some pictures of me from my school days. So we dug through our storage area and found the box of my old stuff, pared down to a small collection: a few art projects, my report cards, class pictures, a ribbon from a badminton tournament, a few high school essays, student cards, and yearbooks. It was funny watching both of my kids try to pick out of the grade one class picture which one was me!
Aside from wondering how my former best friends were doing and where they might be now, it got me to thinking about the things that I loved to do, the things that gave me joy as a kid. Certainly it’s not the first time I’ve thought about that. When you’re searching for the breadcrumbs of where you lost sight of who you were and who you might still be, your favourite past-times in childhood are a good place to start.
What surprised me was going through my university papers, which were also in the storage box. I had saved about a dozen or so of the term papers and tests that had meant something to me, among them a half dozen term papers on Italian literature, most of them written in Italian.
I started studying French in elementary school and continued through to university; Italian was learned during summers at my Nonna’s house in Italy and developed to fluency in university; somewhere along the way, with aptitude and travels, I picked up enough Spanish to get by, plus a smattering of Portuguese. Lack of use has left me capable in Italian and little else…
Looking through my papers, I felt a sense of pride in what I had accomplished, and a sense of sadness – dare I say regret? – for the piece of me that had fallen away. I’m surprised, as I have been diligent in following what’s important to me in this journey to greater energy and joy. But I realize there’s a big piece that I’ve missed.
So now it’s time to make a plan to weave it back into the fabric of my life.
And I want to ask you: what was important to you once upon a time, in childhood, in early adulthood, that you put aside or that was simply forgotten in the busy-ness of life and motherhood? What can you do to bring it back? Even for 5 minutes a day, or a half hour once a week?
Following your interests as an expression of who you are very much affects your feelings about yourself, your sense of fulfilment in your life. And yes, it does impact your energy level as well.