Reclaiming Your Younger Self

No, this isn’t to recommend an anti-aging cream. How many of us feel that we have lost some of ourselves as we have grown older? How many of us, as children, were afraid to grow up because we believed we would become less than we were? Afraid that we would become some sort of shadowed, boring, adult version of ourselves? And how many of us did just that? When I think back to who I was as a child, I see both me and not-me.
I see myself as a different person and yet exactly the same.
In some ways I still feel that wonderment and excitement of childhood, especially lately as I open myself up more to experiencing the world and have refused to stop shutting things out with my negativity.
However, in other ways, I feel that I have aged well-beyond my twenty-six years (which, to be honest, is not an entirely new feeling for me; I have always felt much older than I really am). As a child, I always wanted to grow-up because I felt much more comfortable in the world of adults and yet I don’t feel as though I ever fully did grow up, though technically most would consider me of adult age.
One of my favourite quotes, by Margaret Atwood, goes something like this: “Everyone else my age is an adult, whereas I am merely in disguise.”
That’s how I feel most of the time.
As I’ve gotten older (and have yet to have that full-blown I-am-an-adult feeling), I started thinking about who I considered an adult.
First thing that came to mind, not surprisingly, was my parents. I once asked my mum when she finally felt like an adult and she told me it was when she had my brother and I. I often wonder if I must be surrounded by non-adults to actually feel like an adult… and I wonder how this works when you surround yourself with those who don’t behave like adults… and how does it work if you yourself are not behaving like an adult?
We all know what it means in the technical sense to be an adult, but what I’m wondering is: what is it that we lose when we grow up? Are we losing some of our essence as we get older?
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to lose my muchness. I feel indignant about the fact that I could lose some of what I was simply by growing older.
Is that, I wonder, what we really all fear as we age, not the fact that we will grow old but the fact that we will grow up?
I understand that we must all age and that we actually gain a lot from age (I, for one, have learned so much already and I don’t suppose I am really all that old yet), but just because we grow older doesn’t mean we have to lose sight of who we used to be. After all, that childhood self is who we were born to be, quite literally.
Today I plan to take some time to figure out if, as I have grown older, I’ve lost some of that essence of who I was as a child. Of course there are things we did as children that we would not want to do as adults, but when you get down the essence of who you were – the heart of what you thought you would be -what do you come up with? What of that essence have you lost? As I think about this today, I’m going to contemplate the following questions…
6 Questions To Help You Reclaim Your Younger Self
What did I like to do when I was younger?  When you think about what you liked to do as a child you may be surprised that you still like to do those things. Often the things we like as children are the things we like our whole lives (I certainly know that’s true for me when it comes to reading and writing!). Give some thought to this and you will uncover a lot about the essence of who you are. What you liked to do then says a lot about the kind of person you were.
Why did I stop doing or continue to do those things?  Some people continue to do the things they loved when they were kids. Some people even make careers out of those things (as I someday hope to do). But often, people stop doing the things they loved to do when they were younger. Think about what you did as a child and whether or not you still do it (and why).
Who did I think I would be when I grew up?  When you think about who you thought you would be, you will learn about the things that were important to you as a child. Of course, in some cases, you can’t incorporate these things into your adult life all that easily. But, for example, if you wanted to be a vet (like I did), think about why you wanted to be that person. What did you think that grown-up would have?
How am I like that fictional version of myself?  When you think back on that childhood ideal of who you were going to be, also take some time to consider how you might actually be like that person. You might not be exactly what you thought you would be, but you may be closer than you think. For example, I always thought I’d be a vet or psychologist of some sort (which I’m clearly not), but I do spend most of my time analysing, writing and cuddling cats, so I’m really not that far off.
What attitudes and beliefs did I hold as a child?  This is the most important question. Though it is essential to examine what you liked to do and who you thought you would be, the most important thing to consider is what your beliefs were as a child. What ideals were important to you? Consider how you may have acted as a child and then ponder…
How have my attitudes and beliefs changed?  As we grow and learn, it’s no surprise that some of our values will change. We understand that the world is a complex place and not everything falls neatly into a “good” or “bad” category. But think about how your beliefs may have changed since you were a child. What attitudes did you have then that you may not have now? I know personally that I believed a lot more in my adult-self back then than I do now and that’s something I certainly want to get back to.
It’s normal not to be the same person we were in our childhood, but is it necessary to lose the true essence of who we once were? I think not. We change so much between the time we are born and the time we are adults. Change is good, but not all change is good. Maybe of us lose sight of what we are really meant to be. Give some thought to these questions this weekend and see if you can once again reclaim your youth.

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