With each passing year, I find that I become a little bit more nostalgic. It seems that with each memory, each trip back in time; the past gets a little more beautiful. Each time I give myself a moment to get lost in my memories, they get a little sweeter. And when I think back to the world of my childhood, it seems like things were a little easier.
(Yeah yeah, I realize that this makes me sound old to say this. ... Three miles to school in the snow, uphill both ways and all that...)
Really, weren't things easier back then? Back when all we had to worry about was whether we had to play dodge ball in gym that week (I HATED gym class...) and whether our mother had packed us raisins for a snack (although, actually I liked raisins, so my life was even simpler!) Back before our eyes were opened to the real drama & "unfairness" that life could dish out. Back when we were confident and unashamedly true to ourselves...
I think the height of my childhood confidence and self awareness came when I was about 9 years old. I didn't pause to think about how the world perceived me, I moved forward with confidence in who I was. I didn't stop to consider whether my dreams were plausible, I knew what I loved, and therefore, I did what I loved.
When I was nine, I was a little nerd, but I loved every single second of it :) I inhaled literature, and treasured my weekly trips to the school library with my class, and my Saturday sojourns to the local library with my Daddy. I loved school because I thought it was interesting, and my friends were there. I loved church because God was there, and we did some really neat crafts during Sunday school.
At home I was a novelist, furiously scribbling on the backside of copy paper, never editing, never striking out text ... I knew it was perfect. I played outside almost daily. I loved to sing, and did so every chance I got: in the children's choir at church, on the playground with my friends at recess, to myself as I went about my chores at home.
I had absolutely no doubt about who I was: 'I am Amy: singer & novelist.' It was as simple as that. I never worried about whether these things were lasting; I was having too much fun living.
And I have to wonder: at what point did I lose this child-like innocence and clarity?
Now, I feel that I am often paralyzed by anxiety and doubt. Sometimes I am driven to do what I do because I feel like it is the responsible (adult?) thing, and because I feel obligated to, not because I love it. I constantly worry about what other think of me (which is hard to admit... but there's no way I can pretend it's not true.) In a lot of ways, it seems that as I have grown older, I have lost my sense of confidence and identity, rather than gaining it. Rather than growing into myself and my potential, I have been stunted by the expectations of society ... or, what I perceive them to be.
For this day forward I want to honor the 9 year old Amy that had big hopes; big dreams; big love. I want to blur the line between what I want to be, and what I am. I want to reawaken to the most essential dreams of my heart. And once and for all I want to take back my life and start living it for me.
I know it's a process, and that this is a journey that I'll be on for the rest of my life. But you know what? I'm okay with that. Perhaps for the first time in my life (or at least, for the first time in a painfully long time) I am okay with everything the way it is right now. In fact, while it's not perfect, I love the "right now". AND (and this is hugely important to me) I'm not going to wait any longer. I won't wait until things are perfect to move forward. I don't need to make changes all at once, as long as I keep moving.
"Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves ... Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will find them gradually, without noticing it, and live along some distant day into the answer."
~Rainer Maria Rilke