If I had to name the biggest difference in my identity between 20-year-old Lindsey and 30-year-old Lindsey, it would be that I remembered my childhood. I remembered what I used to love as a kid and started doing more of that during my late 20s. They say your 20s are for self-discovery, and at least for me that has been very true. I know myself and am more comfortable with myself now, than I ever was in high school, college, or as a newly-married 20-something. It’s so worth it to dig into your identity.
Think back to your childhood. How did you spend your days? Those are things that brought you joy. Those are activities that made you light up without even thinking about it. Those are the habits that will ground you.
I’ll use myself as an example.
- I loved to read. You guys probably know this from this blog. But I could devour books as a kid, especially novels. Somewhere along the way I stopped reading. I think it was all the required reading in high school and college that didn’t bring me joy. But as an adult I signed up for a library card and I haven’t looked back since. Reading relaxes, transports, and inspires me.
- I loved gymnastics. I was super flexible as a kid and started gymnastics pretty early. I wasn’t the best or the bravest (especially after a run-in with the vault that my parents caught on camera…still makes my brothers and husband burst out laughing). But I felt incredibly strong and powerful doing back handsprings, bars, beam, and working my heart out, as a skinny little kid. Gymnastics isn’t a life long sport and after high school I quit. Once you quit, it would take a lot of guts to ever start doing back handsprings again. After about 7 years of trying to learn to like running and trying to find my niche on the elliptical and machines at the gym (none of those ever clicked), I started a pilates class and fell in love with crafting a long, lean, strong body. Since Theo was born, I’ve been concentrating on yoga classes, which I love even more. The arm poses and handstands 100% remind me of gymnastics. I love that I can work at my own difficulty level but I can take classes with my mom and see how much yoga is helping her too. I walk out of the classes with a huge smile on my face, because I genuinely feel like a kid at play.
- I loved to play house and dress up. Sometimes I can feel superficial for liking to think about design and style and searching for the beauty in our home. But this has been something innate in me, my whole life. I loved to clip out pictures from magazines and paste together a “dream home.” I loved to play dress up and dolls with my cousins. I liked to move my furniture around in my bedroom. So, naturally as an adult this is a fun thing for me! It’s something my old soul always looked forward to.
- I loved being with a small, tight group of trusted friends. As a kid, I was super close with my family, particularly four cousins who were like sisters. I had a couple of close friends at school. Then in high school, I tried to be the extrovert, the center of a group, the outgoing girl. It was a mask that grew increasingly uncomfortable. About five years ago I read the book, Quiet, and finally felt free to be an introvert again. I love people, especially focusing on a small group of close, deep friendships. I also really love being alone and recharging. It finally felt ok to admit what my kid-self had always known.
A few weeks ago on our family trip to Lake Keowee, I took some yoga classes and one of the classes was on paddle boards on the lake. I felt so brave and strong and happy afterwards. Here’s to remembering what brings you joy deep down.
So, what did you love as a kid? I’d love to hear how you still incorporate those things as an adult or how you’d like to start adding them back in!
(top photo: Madewell, bottom photo: Caren Bey Yoga)