The past few weeks have been very emotional, and I can’t quite put my finger on why that is. Last year, around this time, I struggled a lot watching all my Baylor friends go back while I had just moved to D.C. on my own, knowing no one. Now, I’m struggling because it’s the second time around and I’m back in my childhood home. There’s the emotion of still not having a place to call home, still watching friends get together while I’m so far away, the frustration with still not being able to leave the house like normal, the stress of working a brand new job virtually in a makeshift bedroom, the emotions of missing people and places and experiences and so much more.
I’ve spent a bit of time reflecting and trying to figure out my path at this point. Many lives have been turned upside down, and I’m so fortunate that my path is able to still continue in this crazy, pandemic setting. On a run the other day, actually on September 11, I thought about a conversation my mother and I had that morning. She was recalling the horrific day 19 years ago, and her emotions with it. We talked about how we would have been in the World Trade Center had we not moved out of the city just a few months earlier, and what she would have done if we were there in that moment. I was just shy of four years old, and have a few memories of that day.
As I was running, I thought about four year old me, then five year old me, then fifth grade me, and I just moved throughout my childhood years. I thought of all the phases I went through, the fashion trends I tried out, the passions I chased for a few weeks at a time, the friends I had, the boys I had a crush on, the hobbies that came and went, all that came with the past 22 years of my life. And then I thought of where I am now – emotional and maybe not peaking – but somewhere that my younger self would be so excited to be.
Although I went through phases of wanting to be a teacher and a dancer and a photographer and a doctor and a journalist, one thing always remained, and that was that I wanted to do something that empowered me while empowering others. I wanted to inspire, give a voice, help, teach, invest and contribute to society, and I think I’m doing just that now.
I thought about what younger me would say if she met current me, and I am confident that she’d be happy to see where she ended up. Surprised in some ways, happy in others, and overall proud to see how things turned out. Younger me would be excited to see the passions I still hold, the dreams I’m still chasing and the goals I’ve already achieved. Younger me would also be encouraging, and tell me to keep chasing my dreams – no dream is too big and no goal is unattainable or too far out there. Keep that spark that you had as a four year old, it’ll carry you far. Never lose that drive that four-year-old you had, it’s what makes you special.
How would your younger self talk to you? Would your younger self be proud of you? Working for my younger self inspires me and pushes me more than I could have imagined. Think about this as you move through your days – it adds a new, fresh perspective that we all need in these unprecedented times.