Who were you in second grade?
Eight-year-old Libby carried a Lion King backpack, learned how to do a ponytail all by herself, discovered “stage fright” was not in her vocabulary as she shimmied and pirouetted across stages for dance recitals and local plays, and got her first (and last) parent phone call for writing “STUPID” on a boy named Harry’s sophomoric pencil drawing.
Eight-year-old Libby learned the words to “I Believe I Can Fly” (if you’re not humming right now, we’re not friends) and learned the artistry of everything monkey bars. Eight-year-old Libby loved making up songs, rhyming words, and she soared through vocabulary tests like a champ.
What does all this have to do with anything? I read something recently that said if you were wondering what you should be doing with your life and career, go back to the person you were in second grade because this is the time when people really start attaching themselves to a personality that travels with them through life. The heart of what you enjoyed in second grade is still the heart of what you enjoy and are passionate about as an adult. You just need to be honest with yourself about what those things are and how to apply that to something that, ya know, ideally makes a little money.
I’m not sure I could gather many concrete passions from what I remember of my second grade self but I do remember third and fourth grade, which were taught by the same teacher, to be exceptionally pivotal. It was there that Mrs. Stinnett’s class wrote in daily journals and were greeted by a cheerful written response the following day; it was there that I was complimented for bringing my Winnie the Pooh story “full circle” (the story began with Pooh looking in the mirror, deciding he didn’t like his look, Piglet gives him a make-over, and it ends with Pooh looking in the mirror and loving his look! I’ll read it to you sometime. If you want.); it was there that Mrs. Stinnett foreshadowed my adult writing career and made me promise that when I write my first book, I would dedicate it to her. I fully intend to make good on that promise.
Why then, does “growing up,” having bills, starting a family, and “being in the real world” suddenly choke me of my one true passion? Why do I feel as if writing isn’t good enough and won’t pay the bills? Why have I put my blog on the back burner for so many months (my truest apologies. I was going to write about why I haven’t written but quickly thought better of an excuse-laden post) when this is the one outlet I have that I feel adequate, at peace, in love, and the truest and best version of myself?
I honestly am not sure. I do think that this is why a lot of parents encourage their children to become whatever their little hearts desire! Want to be a firefighter? Do it. An astronaut? Do it. The president? Please, dear God, do it, because somewhere along the road, mommy and daddy may have strayed from the path they were once on and they don’t want their children to have regrets. They don’t want those dreams to be scoffed at for being too big or shrugged at because they suddenly seem too difficult to attain.
I am truly blessed by my current career and am happy to wake up each day to take on such an exciting venture of which I am proud. I do get to write, exercise my creative muscles, help people, listen to stories of success, and create new and better ways to reach people and help my company thrive.
I would just hope that we do not lose sight of the things that truly get our heart pumping, smile beaming, and feet moving. Life is too short to do anything less than what we are passionate about and retirement is too late to do all of the things we were waiting and hoping to enjoy.