As soon as I could write, I jotted down notes in my notebooks about what I would do differently if I were an adult. I remember thinking how much better I could be a grown up, how many things I would change to make the world a better place. I wasn’t all talk either. Any time I could display my conviction for a cause I believed in I was in no holds barred. Whether my stand was not having history lessons, allowing sleepovers on weeknights, or outlawing pork chops (all of which I really believed in for a while), my belief was really important to me. Letting go of one of these important issues would be like losing a part of myself. Looking at any kids’ movie or tv show ever made, you can see this is a common sentiment among the young. Think about Mary Poppins, Homeward Bound, Big, anything on the Disney channel. Adults always need help from kids to sort out life’s issues in these movies.
Now, it seems ridiculous to think about. We’ve all gained so much from life experience, from formal education, and from biological advantages which should allow us to reason and think better. So why do I find myself wishing I could sift through those old journals for direction?
My mom told me the other day how she saw this really talented 11-year-old girl who reminded her of me. She said it like it was nothing, that the determination she saw in this girl was like what I used to show when I was young. As nice as it was to hear this from my mom, it also was a bit of a blow when I realized that these qualities seemed to be in the past tense. My strength and vision are negligible compared to what they were when I was a kid.
There’s no telling what the cause is. Maybe we get our hearts broken too much. Maybe we get lost or overwhelmed in responsibilities. Maybe we find all those fears that come with education and experience. However it happens, it happens. We change despite our best efforts not to. Every experience we have adds to us, but also takes something away. Hopefully it works toward positive growth. When we learn something new, we add knowledge and subtract ignorance. When we try something new, we add bravery, success, and skill and subtract fear and ineptitude. Sometimes results may be just the opposite though.
Sometimes all of it complicates the things that used to seem simple. I’m about to boil some things down to their bases, if only for my own sake. You do what’s right and you do your best. You help when you can and ask for it when you need it. If you love someone, you tell them. If you have a dream, you go for it. You give it everything you’ve got it. At the very least, you change the world. It’s as simple as doing what we already know. Everything else we learn, we apply towards these goals.
Today write down your biggest dream and tell yourself that you will accomplish it. Tell yourself you will go after it with everything you’ve got because otherwise, what are you doing? Dedicate yourself to being everything you want to be and then do it.
This is still spy week, but now you have a good reason to practice and become really good at new skills. The more we know about how to protect ourselves the less we have to be afraid of.