The Freedom in Going Backwards

The Portal Watermark

I had an epiphany the other day. It seems, at least for us artsy types, that we spend the first part of our adult lives figuring out how to go back to the way we were when we were five. I saw a similar post on a friend’s website the other day, so I know I’m not alone on this. When we’re five, everything seems achievable: being a writer, being an astronaut…whatever dream comes into our juvenile little heads, we see no reason why we can’t achieve it.

At what point were we told we were wrong about that?

Somewhere between age five and age thirty, our perspective gets all screwed up. I don’t know if it comes from the first bill we ever have to pay on our own, or the first relative who tells us, with a chuckle, “no really, what do you want to do with your life?” Either way, that five-year-old gets lost along the way.

And it takes a while to get them back.

Some people never do. Some people find themselves on their deathbed, thinking “yeah I never did write that story/paint that painting/build that house, but I sure met everyone else’s expectations of me.” It’s crazy that we were are most true selves before we even reached junior high.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to make a life for yourself, in whatever way that means. There are other dreams that come with being an adult that are also valid: wanting a house, wanting to be able to travel…these things are important too.

But somewhere along the line, it seems like we got the idea in our head that we had to choose. One or the other. House or art. Cruise or culture. What is it that makes us think we can’t have both? There never seems to be enough time in the day, but if you really want something, you’ll find a way to squeeze it in. And you may find that half-hour that you shove into your schedule is the best part of your day.

Five-Year-Old-Me told me that.


6 thoughts on “The Freedom in Going Backwards

  1. I was dissuaded from majoring in art or writing/English by a well-meaning mother who said, “Artists are a dime a dozen. Get a practical degree.” I majored in German. How practical is it to spricht Deutsch? πŸ˜‰

  2. Hi Renee,

    Your words are spot on!

    “It’s crazy that we were are most true selves before we even reached junior high.” – right?!

    Glad to have found your blog. πŸ™‚

    Peace to you,


  3. Hm. This concept looks familiar πŸ˜€

    For me, I was driven by fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of being broke. Fear of failure. Once I got over that fear, the world became infinitely less terrifying than before, and I was able to go forth and be fruitful.

    Love this post, and love your five-year-old-you. ❀

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