I think back to me at 5 and where we were in the world. I was in Stockholm for over half of the year because my dad was working on a long-term project there. I have some very clear memories and mostly a lot of foggy ones.
Looking back to my childhood and young adulthood and what I wish I had known, it is hard to pick only three things. But here goes…
Smart is good
I spent so much of my time in school trying not to be the brainiac. Why? It was easier than getting picked on for getting good grades. Grades and being smart were valued in my house, but it wasn’t cool to be smart in school.
For years I covered up my A’s and pretended that it was all luck. When I was in advanced classes, I shut my mouth so I wasn’t answering too often. It was “easy” stuff so that was why I had a perfect GPA and was valedictorian.
How much I wish I could go back and tell myself to shine. Yes, people will make comments. They will call you a nerd and worse. But, in the end, the right people will find you and love that you know things and enjoy learning.
You are fierce
Younger me was overweight and a klutz. PE was never my friend. If you see me running, believe me, something is after me because my body hates it. No one wanted me on their team for soccer, baseball, football, basketball or anything else that was a team sport. I was, however, picked as anchor for tug of war.
I loved to hike and I played tennis with my dad. But, I always thought of myself as not athletic because I didn’t do the normal things. Hiking was just a way of life in Colorado.
The first time I realized that I was good at something was high school when I started Tae Kwon Do. I used to go to school with bruises from sparring and I didn’t care. I felt like a badass warrior and I was good at it.
Life got in the way of that and I forgot that feeling. And then, about four years ago I started weight lifting. Where had this been when I was in PE? Yes, we had puny little machines but no one ever suggested that I do free weights. That was for the guys in football and other sports.
I feel like a badass again every time I lift. So, I would tell myself to look beyond the standard options and look for those weights. Don’t wait.
Shit happens and you survive
There have been several times in my life when the world crashed down. The first at 15 when my boyfriend committed suicide. There was no sign at all and my world exploded.
Another when a man tried to destroy our financial future after promising to help us build a business.
Broken hearts, broken dreams, broken promises are a part of life. At the time, I thought several of them weren’t survivable. You curl up in a ball and don’t want to come out.
But, adult me, having lived through a lot of shit, has come to realize that you do survive. Not the same person as before, sometimes more wounded, sometimes more wary, sometimes stronger, but still you and still there.
So, to little, me, step over and through the shit, and move forward. There’s still so much good in your life to look forward to.