Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again?
Winnie the Pooh
When you were a kid, lying under a tree or while cuddled under a warm blanket, did you envision yourself as a grownup? In my Midlife Jobhunter quest to discover what I'd like to be, I've returned often to what my thoughts may have been when I was ten. I mention 10 as somewhere I read - I think in Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach - that we are the closest to our authentic self when we are 10 years old.
Ten. Oh, to summon back the youthful vision of ten.
When I completed Breathnach's year long study many years ago, I discovered a long forgotten photo of myself -- at 10. Sure luck as I don't have many photos of my youth. But, alas, from a book my oldest brother had gathered for me, I discovered a picture in front of a birthday cake -- a smile on my face and 10 candles ready to blow. I studied the face of that child, excited about life, unaware of what might lie ahead, and tried to recall her dreams, desires, and hopes.
I'm sure at the time I journeyed through Simple Abundance, I also journaled my recollections. But life, once again, segued me off in another direction.That journal is now buried in a box in the attic and I have no desire to dig around up there. I must begin anew.
Sitting on my porch this morning, accompanied by the morning glories that burst open today,
I recall I liked to explore, albeit with trepidation. I was neither the one with the most guts, nor the most fear. I would climb the trees and ride the neighbor's horse, but always with a tug of angst in my chest. I wasn't fond of getting hurt. But I never minded following a new trail in the forest. I had a good sense of direction and the ability to remember where I came from. I could always find my way back.
I know I wanted to see the world. In middle school, we had assemblies in the auditorium. We saw movies of far away places, different cultures, adventures. My family didn't venture far - a week at the lake in summer and a four day trip to Chicago in the fall. Sunday car rides offered a view of life surrounding our small corner of southern Minnesota - the cornfields flying by, interrupted by the cows walking home or a railroad track with a train due. As my older brother was drilled on his math facts or the parts of speech, I sat in silence, watching the heart and soul in the countryside glide by outside the window. I dreamed.
My mother always talked of visiting Paris so from an early age I knew another world existed. Her father left her a $1000 life insurance policy when he died. She planned to take that money and go to Paris someday. Then more kids were born and life took over and many years passed, the $1000 depleted. But in my head, a world beyond the gridded sections of Minnesota countryside existed. Paris, New York City, the Pacific Ocean.
What does this have to do with my authentic self and what I want to be when I grow up? Hell if I know. Trying to piece it together, I guess. And today, you are my listeners as I sort things out.
Sorting. Always seem to be sorting. Laundry, thoughts, me.