Were we smarter, wiser as kids? I don’t think so, but we lived and loved without regret or reservation.
We stayed true to who we were and we did it proudly.
Thinking back, that kind of self-satisfaction is both impressive and enviable, and makes me think maybe we had it right from the start.
Growing up, I plunged head first into everything—on the field, on the stage, in the classroom, you name it. Lessons were learned by trial and error, consequences were few and expectations were low because frankly, every little accomplishment was a victory.
And if not, it was good practice for the screw ups that would inevitably follow in my future.
Did I ever lose confidence, afraid I was not quite as good as the other guy and probably never would be?
Did I stress over relationships, dissecting each conversation for hidden cues that he really just wasn’t that into me after all?
Did my ambitious little mind worry that I wouldn’t be able make a living, to support myself on my own two feet?
Did I worry…at all?
Not a chance.
And my dear friend Worry was far from alone.
Fear, Inhibition, Failure and Apprehension grudgingly joined him on the sidelines, impatiently waiting for the day when they too would have a winning hand in my contentment.
Until then, I enthusiastically pursued my passions to the best of my ability…and within my parent’s budget.
If I wasn’t kicking around a soccer ball, I was tap dancing and singing with my karaoke machine. If I wasn’t acting in a show or playing dress up, I was competing for the top math score and beating my brother at Donkey Kong.
I frumpily dressed like a boy and played with Barbie for hours on end, that babe oozing sex appeal and irresistible charm.
She had it all, and so would I. You know, I’d be a quintuple threat, if you will—brains and brawn included.
Insecurities? Please. I was invincible. And damn happy.
If I dreamed it, I’d do it. No questions. That’s just the way the world worked, right?
So Mr. Worry and I weren’t even acquaintances at best. We had no interaction at all.
A silent agreement to stay out of one another’s way, at least until puberty…and that would just be our first brief encounter.
The heavy stuff wasn’t on the agenda until, well, now.
Me and worry, worry and I.
Now we are too close of pals for comfort.
He snuck in, a stage five clinger that got too attached too quickly.
The free-spirit in me is wrangling with his buddy, Practicality, for the reins.
Just can’t shake him.
But I’ve got to hand it to Worry. He’s too good.
A constant companion making every action a reaction to some non-existent problem spiraled out of nothing.
He has a way with persuasion, and I don’t know about you, but for me the worst things are always the easiest to believe.
There’s more on the line these days and his whole gang has stepped up to play the game.
You know that feeling? When you’re spinning and spinning and can’t stop for anyone?
I miss when that was intentional. In a sunshine-filled field. With a multi-colored hula hoop.
Not the dizzy spell of too many self-imposed deadlines and indecision.
Or when you feel like all you can do is hold your breath and wait, praying not to sink?
I miss when that too was intentional. In a swimming pool. Wearing floaties and a polka-dot one-piece.
Not from suffocating under priorities and doubts and inadequacies.
Being happy wasn’t measured by today’s standards.
It was measured by doing what made me feel alive, my independence, and my choice to swing with the wind in my hair and not have a care in the world.
It’s impossible to wish for that sense of security now and I’m well aware of that. Things like money, relationships and careers create worries and unfortunately, they do matter.
But do they matter more than me? Will they ever be as fulfilling as when I relied on me, myself and I for approval and worth?
If that’s the only way to live truly and completely care-free, I’ve gotta say, take me back to the nineties (when yes, I was that gem with the major gap tooth as seen above).
An aspiring writer, fashion enthusiast and lover of all things yoga, dance and green, Jamie recently ended a far-too-short glimpse of the world spending her days as an English teacher and soul-searcher in Madrid, Spain. She is completely fascinated by languages and cultures and won’t be satisfied until she’s seen it all. And so it begins.