Friday, January 16, 2009
Self Portrait at Nine
A few years ago,when Mike and I moved into my childhood home, we were putting things away in the kitchen. In a rarely used cupboard above the refrigerator were years of school papers that my mom had saved. As I went through them, seperating my work from my brother and sisters, I could picture my school, my teachers and classmates, my favorite books. I could even smell Elmer's paste. Among the pile of crumbling construction paper projects, was this self portrait and the statement was attached. It immediately brought a smile to my face. I don't remember being this self-assured and carefree. I can't believe that I drew myself with my glasses. I hated my glasses!
It made me think, "If I was this confident at age nine, what happened during the next 23 years?" How did I lose it? Here I was, in the fourth grade, announcing to the world, " This is me. Take it or leave it." By the time I was 33, I had no idea who I was. I had chosen a life that had placed my free-spirited, nine year old self in a cupboard above my mom's refrigerator. Why did I make those choices? I can only say that I let fear and worry hold me back. Those two things will paralyze you in an instant. I don't care how big or small your dreams are, they will never come true if you always take the safe roads and never take a chance. I can't think of a single person who had great personal success without taking a risk. I don't know of anyone who has achieved great personal success without failing somewhere along their journey. Risk and failure are two things that I really struggle with but the universe keeps sending me little messages to keep me on track. Today, I logged onto my blog and the "Thoreau Quote of the Day" reads as follows: " If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endevours to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours."
By the time that I found the self portrait, I had already made some major life changes. Now, as I'm quickly approaching forty, I want to take it to the next level. I want to advance confidently in the direction of my dreams. I still worry too much about things that don't really matter, but I'm working on it. I'm still trying to find my life's purpose, but it will come. Someday (hopefully soon), I will look in the mirror and in my reflection, I'll be looking at my nine year old self complete with Dorothy Hamill haircut and glasses. I know she's there just waiting to be rediscovered like the drawing tucked away in a old musty cupboard.