I’m not one to waste time mourning what’s gone. Maybe I’m too much of a realist but I simply don’t see the point of worrying about the past. My youth, my ideas, and all of the things I’ve done over the years have served me well but they’ve changed, evolved, moved on and I have too. There was a time when shopping for pretty things was a priority and the biggest thing I looked forward to was the weekend, a few drinks (or a few too many) with friends and hoping to sleep in on Sundays. I used to care what people thought about how I looked, how my kids behaved and what kind of car I was driving.
God, I’m so happy that’s all behind me. It was exhausting!
These days, I appreciate things like a comfy pair of shoes and a good book more than ever before. (I can’t believe I used to squash my feet into high heels and tell myself it didn’t matter if they weren’t comfortable – they sure looked good!) Actually, when I look back at some of the things I used to do/wear/eat, it’s sort of fun to see the evolution from “that me” to “this me”. To see what once mattered so much to me and realize it didn’t really matter at all sure gives one a fresh perspective about the good parts of growing older. That’s why it’s important for us to look back at the things that shaped who we are. Not to regret, or deny, or to yearn for what’s past but to acknowledge it all as our journey. To here. To now. And then keep going (and growing).
Too often, as we grow older, we can feel stuck. We think the best parts of our lives are over when, in reality, they were simply the stepping stones. At times we navigated them with caution. Other times we skipped over them carelessly with no worries about slipping. If we fell and skinned our knees or our hearts or our egos we simply got up again. We moved on, perhaps a bit more carefully, but we didn’t stop even though we were never quite sure what was waiting ahead for us.
While I can certainly recognize everything that’s changed about me (just have to look in the mirror) it’s amazing how much of my core has remained the same. As a child, I loved being outdoors. I’d play for hours, exploring, collecting, imagining, Being outside is still the place that brings me the most joy. Maybe it has something to do with feeling grounded in Nature. I also enjoyed solitude from an early age. Reading a book, drawing or writing stories are still some of my favorite things to do.
Generally speaking, the things we love doing most as children are usually the things that remain important to us throughout our lives. They are what fuel the essence of who we are even when we lose sight of them. When being popular or successful is our focus (usually in our 20’s & 30″s) and we drive ourselves to exhaustion trying to get “there” (wherever that is?) a little spark is always inside waiting for us to come back to it. Often it’s not until we get older, and our priorities finally align, when we feel that spark once again nudging us like a puppy wanting to play.
None of the things I appreciate the most require a big bank account, any special requirements, and I don’t have to work my butt off to get them yet they all bring me the most satisfaction and happiness. I simply had to learn to fall back into them.
As I begin writing my memoirs I’m excited to revisit the things that brought me joy. I’m a bit hesitant to revisit those which brought me sorrow but, mostly, I look forward to discovering again what a rich, diverse, interesting life I’ve had. I want my kids and grandkids to know me a little better. Heck, I want to get to know myself a little better! To live a good life, I believe, is to learn and grow and keep learning. Until the very end.
It’s not until we look back that we can appreciate just how far we’ve come. That’s why writing a memoir can be so illuminating and valuable. Your memoirs help you reconnect with your past in ways that comfort you, reassure, heal, and validate you. And they are a heartfelt gift for your family and others, should you choose to share them.
If you’d like to explore your own rich and unique history please join me every week (enter your email below) as I share how to get started and move forward. I promise it will be one of the most rewarding and enlightening things you’ll ever do.