i have read more than one book that pegs the ages of 9-11 as those years when you are most fully yourself -- old enough to have formed your personality but young enough that you haven't been beaten down by and cultural and familial expectations. many of these books say that when looking to create a more fulfilling future, the best place to search for ideas is in your past. start with some of these questions:
- what was your favorite subject in school? (english and history, though i pretty much loved all school)
- what were your interests / what did you do in your free time? (gymnastics, climbing trees, catching pollywogs, read books, sewing, drawing -- especially designs of houses, creating terrariums, decorating my dollhouse, making furniture for my dollhouse out of tin cans and sponges, indoor gardening)
- what were your favorite games? (made-up imagination games like trapped on a dessert island)
- what did you collect? (books, especially fantasy, plants, tropical fish, teddy bears, especially smokey)
- what were your favorite tv shows, movies or books? (chronicles of prydain, the hobbit, chronicles of narnia, little house, and of course my favorite book, the little prince)
- what did you want to be when you grew up? (teacher, writer, artist, mom)
for me, remembering wasn't that hard. i have a record of many other of these things and remember a lot. each of us kids had one of those school record books where we kept our report cards, class photos and filled in our best friends, favorite teachers and yes, what we wanted to be when we grew up. and i still see and speak to my family and friends from back then which makes it easy to supplement my memories.
but looking at my answers, i feel like what they say is true. the things i long to bring back into my life are those things that i loved most then: nature, creativity, imagination, words, books, and learning. and i can't help but think that bringing some of those things back into my life might help me feel more grounded and in touch with my true self.