Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Advice for My Younger Self

It's Wednesday! And that means it's time to join the party over at MamaKat's  for the weekly writing workshop.

This week, I chose the prompt: If you could write a note to your younger self, what would you say in just 2 words?

Growing up, I was always the good girl. I did everything I was supposed to do, never questioned authority figures, and never raised a fuss. I praised for how quiet I was and how I never caused trouble or drew attention to myself.  I could often be found playing by myself in an out of the way corner, both at home and at school. When I finished my school work (always early) I went to the "self learning" section of the classroom and diligently worked my way through all of the self learning programs, then I moved on to reading all the books on the bookshelf. At home, my mother would often look throughout the house for me, saying she didn't know I was home.

"You are as quiet as a mouse," I was often told. I was quiet because I thought I was supposed to be. I thought I was supposed to blend into the woodwork and pump out perfect paper after perfect paper. That's what good girls did. That's what made people happy.

It was only when was older, out of my childhood home, and in a completely different setting that I began to question this wisdom. Is it really admirable to sit quietly in a corner and never draw attention to yourself? I used to think so. Now, not so much.

If I were to give my younger self two words of advice, it would be Go Big! Sitting in the corner, never asking questions, "being quiet as a mouse" are all just a form of playing small. Even though I was excelling at school (and at sports), I never allowed myself to enjoy it. I never celebrated my successes nor did I allow others to call attention to them, either. I just tried to be perfect and then retreated once again to the corner.

You can't Go Big if you are sitting in a corner. You can't Go Big if you never speak up. You can't Go Big if you are more concerned with making others happy than you are with making yourself happy.

I look back upon my younger self and I wish I had taken more chances. I wish I had allowed myself to experiment. I wish I had allowed myself to fail.

I never failed.

I  thought not failing was admirable. But maybe it was because I was too afraid to try different things. Maybe it was because I stuck only to things I knew I was good at. Or maybe it was because I just didn't want to draw attention to myself.

The good thing is, it's never to late to Go Big. I've had a lot of fun in my adult years experimenting, taking chances, and failing. Most of the time, the failures are only temporary, anyway.

So even though I played small when I was younger, I have the rest of my life to Go Big!


Shana Norris said...

That's the wonderful thing about life: we can start today and do things a little or a lot differently.

Have so much fun Going Big!

Mama Kat said...

I love this because it's true...what do we have to lose? It's okay to take risks!