In mindful circles, we talk a lot about trying to live life "like a child again," with the same sense of wonderment and joy, that sense that every moment lasts forever. On the other hand, we chicks are constantly being barraged (at least, I am; if you regularly browse ladies' mags, you probably are, too) with the message that we only come into our own in our [fill in the blanks: 30s/40s/50s/wise elder years]. Yelp out loud for each time you're heard or read:
I'm finally comfortable in my own skin.
I know who I am/what I want/my actual bra size.
I've finally found the meaning of life.
Lately, though, I'm wondering if childhood had the advantage in the "knowing thyself" and "choosing," along with smooth skin, endless summers and all the rest of it. What if, in fact, we know exactly who we are, and what we want, when we are children? What if we stuck to that, through the confusing years of our 20's and early 30's?
I remember the things that made me happy as a child, and I realize now how much I miss doing so many of them. Some of the things were introduced by my parents, like the piano, but others I gravitated toward naturally as soon as I had an inkling: Reading, acting, singing. I wasn't thrown a pu-pu platter of activities hoping that something would stick (though I was exposed to travel and culture); I instinctively knew these were the things that made me happy, because my mind was clear, uncluttered by hormones, endless activities, bill-paying, work, or alcohol.
I've seen a trend of women getting back to these youthful desires. Some are again studying high school languages, or playing sports they loved, like rowing. Others are looking toward second careers as their kids sprout wings. I suggest to us all, whether looking for work or a hobby of substance: Look back, ladies. It may not be the wisdom of our years that'll carry us through, but the instinct of babes.