I recently went through a bunch of boxes of stuff from my childhood that my mom had been saving in her basement (and requested that I remove given that I’m now an adult with my own basement).
Though I’d delayed diving in because the task seemed overwhelming, it was actually really nourishing.
Because sitting in those boxes was my little girl self, evident in the stories I’d written, the school projects I’d composed, and the collateral left over from elaborate games of make believe I used to play with my sister.
One artifact of play was particularly interesting to me. It was an entire stack of welcome materials that we’d created for our imaginary boarding school, The Brookside School for Girls.
It included rules and regulations, clubs and organizations, a directory, the schedule, and a very sweet welcome letter (all complete with inventive spelling).
Beyond the delight of remembering The Brookside Academy for Girls after it having been long tucked away in the recesses of my memory, I was struck by one thing:
The focus of all of this paperwork supporting the make-believe school was on making people feel at home and part of the community. I wanted to make the girls feel safe so that they could learn and grow.
As I read through the pieces of yellowed computer paper with the Brookside Academy documents, I also remembered how I’d created a schedule for all of my stuffed animals and rotated through who got to sleep in my bed each night because I didn’t want anyone to feel left out.
I realized I haven’t changed much.
Whenever Mike and I have moved to a new home, the first room I set up is the guest room. (This is not conscious. It’s just always what I do.)
At our live events I always want people to feel welcomed and that they belong there. In The Freedom Family I want our team members to know that they belong.
I’m no longer the welcome wagon for an imaginary school for girls, but I still pretty much do the same thing decades later. Creating a safe community for women to learn and grow, where they feel like they belong, is still pretty much what I do.
I’m not so special. The truth is, we’re all pretty much who we’ve always been.
Yes, we change and grow. But the core of who we are is the core of who we are.
If you’ve been feeling lost when it comes to what you’re meant to be doing in your life, reflect on the following:
~What did you absolutely love doing as a kid? Was it building stuff? Being in nature? Making art? Organizing the kids in your neighborhood to do plays?
~What did you used to pretend to be when you were a kid?
I think there’s a sweet spot around the ages of 7-9 before we started to meld our play based on what others thought, or before our play started to melt away all together.
Your truest essence has been there all along, so just ask that sweet, innocent part of yourself that’s never forgotten who you are, and she’ll lead you right on home.
What were you really into when you were a kid? What elements of that are still active in your life today? How could what you remember about your passions as a child help guide you in your life today? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!