I went to a high school reunion last month. It was interesting to compare people to how I knew them in junior and senior high school. After all, it had been five years since I graduated (wink, wink, nod, nod, ha, ha). Actually I was on the lost list for our reunions for many years as both my parents died and I moved around a lot when younger. Some people were very different in personality than what I remembered and some were almost exactly the same. How do you define yourself?
I heard we not our current age we are also every age that we have ever been. That rang true with me. Is part of you still a five year old? No matter what age many of us still enjoy play. Stress levels are up everywhere. Most of us could benefit from some play and taking a break from being a grown up once in a while. I’m going to try goat yoga this week. A part of me is the age when I was a carefree popular kid in grade school. I was elected the first girl president of my class. An exercise I used when I’m stuck making a decision or being too hard on myself. Ask yourself what the five year old you would tell you to do.
I went to a different school district in junior high than my grade school. I’m also still at times the scared, lonely, unknown kid walking into a new school where I didn’t know one single person. I soon realized because everyone came from different grade schools, no one knew I was the new kid in town. They assumed I knew kids and had just gone to a different grade school. Some kids wrote in my year book “you are so shy”. I was not outgoing. For a few weeks until I met some kids, I sat sadly alone at lunch. My bologna and cheese sandwich was my only company in the cafeteria. Walking into my reunion I saw empty tables set up. I really was for a minute afraid that when it came time to eat, I would again be alone at a table. (I did get invited to sit with the other “kids”.)
Underneath everything that has happened to us is our essence. We came into this world with a unique personality and destiny. Through yoga and meditation I continue to connect to the me that is not influence by external events. When I was eleven years old my grandmother put my waist length hair into a sophisticated up do. As I looked into her mirror I did not recognized this strange older looking person staring back at me. I got chills and goosebumps as I knew I was more than my body at that point in time. I had this realization that no matter what I looked liked, I was more than my body and something inside me would always be the same. I didn’t remember that experience until years later.
I’m the person who at about this age I asked all the kids at my birthday party to open the presents they brought me and then give them to me. I was so shy, I didn’t want everyone looking at me when I opened my presents. What I didn’t realized is that when you give a 3 year old a present to open they think it is their present and want to keep it. I sat in shock and dismay as all my birthday guest happily played with MY presents. I’m also the person who enjoyed speaking to 600 people at a corporate event. I’m the person who loves dancing in exhibitions for large crowds at the Mall of America.
The wonderful thing is the older we get the more likely we are to realize we can choose how to define ourselves. Most of us have created our own tribes where we feel acceptance and belonging. Our job is to erase the labels that our family, teachers, schoolmates, bosses, coworkers and anyone else who has defined us have put on us. We are the only ones who know our own true nature. When we connect to our amazing unique and wonderful selves we are so much happier and we draw in the people who are meant to be around us.