What Our Kid Selves Can Teach Our Confused Adult Selves

While I was at my mother’s house on New Year’s Eve, on one hand celebrating the ending of 2011 and on the other celebrating Christmas with my brother, I was given a gift.  I don’t know if she just wanted it out of the way, but while I was eating frozen shrimp and playing board games, my mother gave me my baby book.

I have seen my baby book before.  My mother kept it up all the way through high school, so the last page has the list of my high school graduation presents; a nice bookend to the list of shower presents at the beginning.  But for some reason, I was seeing it through new eyes this weekend.  Maybe it was the sense of new year’s reflection in the air, or maybe it was a general restlessness and slight dissatisfaction in my soul, but as I flipped through old report cards, immunizations records, and grade school projects, I started receiving a message from my younger self.

Many of the things I found just made me smile as I noticed how little some things change over the years.  One glowing report card had the lone sour grade for “map skills,” which is still pretty true to this day.  Under my dislikes, my mother had written in that at age 8 months, I disliked being alone, going to bed, and finishing eating, which made my wife snort-laugh and comment that nothing had changed much since then.  But then some things started to surprise me.

As I have mentioned before, math was always my thing growing up, and music seemed a natural extension of that.  I was on the math team and took advanced math courses at UVM while I was still in high school.  But to my surprise, on all of my tests and report cards, my verbal scores were higher.  My 1st grade report card shows my math levels on track, and my reading level as advanced.  My verbal SAT score was 40 points higher than my math score (which I remember thinking odd at the time).  My baby book is full to the brim of short stories, cartoons & comics, and poems that I had written, and I suddenly remembered just how much I loved reading and writing.  I mean, I like it now too, but back then it was a passion!

I found summer reading list books provided by the local library, but instead of filling up one book, I had filled up three or four each summer, sometimes reading as many as 100 books in one season, but I think the thing that really got to me was finding my 2nd grade evaluation.  I read the sentence “He is a powerful reader and seems most contented when he’s reading.” and it hit me.  That’s right!  I remember now!  Reading and writing make me really happy!  Blissfully, euphorically happy!  How could I have forgotten this?

I’ve never truly forgotten, of course.  I still read (although not as much as I would like to) and I started writing this blog, which has become a true source of pleasure for me every day, but it makes me realize that maybe what I should have been doing all along is writing.  And by writing I mean music too.  Books, a comic strip, operas, librettos, children’s stories, parody songs, screenplays, educational videos, newspaper articles, you name it!  I want to write them all!  I did math for so many years, maybe I forgot how much I loved to read and write.  But now I remember again.

I don’t really do New Year’s resolutions, but I do do New Year’s goals and state of mind changes, and I want to tell you right here, right now, that this year I am going to spend more time writing.  I am going to start a project, and actually finish it.  Maybe I will try to get something published.  Maybe I will just put stuff on the internet.  But I feel a renewed energy about creating and writing again, and I just wanted to tell my younger self, message received buddy.  I remember now, and I’m on it.

Posted in New Year, Writing.

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