Earlier in the year, I wrote a post entitled Shy Bairns Get Nowt, when I was trying to make sense of my reluctance to ‘take up space’ online.
Looking back now, both at the original post and at the periods in my life I refer to in my text, it made me realise how much value there is in thinking back to ourselves as kids/teens, in order to rediscover interests and passions and all the things that used to get us excited before the pressures of adulthood hit hard.
What the hell am I doing with my life, is it OK to have takeaway cheesy chips for tea again, shall I attempt to do my tax return or should I tidy my knicker drawer instead? etc etc
When I was younger, when I didn’t have tax returns to file, and my main concern was why no-one we knew looked like Jordan Catalano, pouring my heart and soul into my diaries was my thing. It was something I just had to do, so I did it.
Once I’d written something, anything, I felt better, I felt great, I felt like I’d made sense of everything.
I stopped writing diaries when I went to university. I’m not sure why: perhaps because life became too hectic – five hours of lectures a week must have really taken its toll, ho ho – and I remember I would also write letters (letters! Remember them?) to friends who I no longer shared a city with.
So I was getting my thoughts and feelings down on paper anyway (albeit slightly edited versions for an external audience; I didn’t want my friends to know exactly how strange I really was) and therefore it just didn’t come as naturally to me to pour my heart out into those notebooks.
Is it a coincidence that I remember not feeling as much like ‘me’, or as confident or brave, at uni, at the same time I stopped writing so much?
There would have been loads of factors at play, of course, as it’s such an intense period of growing up and learning, but letting go of something that brought me happiness and helped me make sense of life would have surely had some impact.
I didn’t revisit my diaries again for more than ten years, until I went solo travelling and knew no-one and needed to make sense of things again. And also had the space and time to do so. I think back to that period of my life as being fun and happy, also confusing and lonely at times, but mostly happy. Coincidence?
I’m not saying that my 17 year old self had it all sussed out and that I’ve since spent 20 years unravelling her hard work (hopefully not anyway) but I’m sure there is something in the simplicity of our likes and dislikes as kids and teenagers, the ones that existed before all other noise and pressures and external influences took hold and remoulded us.
I’m definitely holding onto my love of writing now and won’t let it go again.
(I’m not clinging as tightly to my fondness for 80s boybands, although last time I heard Wet Wet Wet’s Sweet Little Mystery on the radio I felt completely joyous, so perhaps I shouldn’t be in such a hurry to cast it aside, eh?)
(Oh and every time the TV show Strictly starts again I wonder about starting up dancing – another thing I loved as a kid – and then Gray rolls his eyes, but that’s mostly because he’s worried he’ll get roped into waltzing and foxtrotting.)
(And of course Jordan Catalano will always be *insert heart eyes emoji*. Even though he was a bit of a twit.)
What were your childhood/teenage passions and are they long-forgotten now? Could you revisit them? Has rediscovering them (or not letting them go in the first place) brought you happiness and/or does it factor in the work you do now? I’d love to know.
Bye for now x