Do you remember what you were like at age 10? It’s right before our hormones kick in and societal expectations begin to manipulate our thinking. I remember when I was 10. I was outgoing, outspoken, with empathy and support for those in need. This got me thinking about becoming who we are authentically at a young age. We begin the process of “becoming” and then something happens along the way. Why?
I want you to take a moment now to picture yourself at age 10: What were your hobbies? What were you thinking? What stands out? I will share a very quick story with you about me when I was 10. It had a profound effect on the shape of my thinking, moving forward in my life. I had a friend, Kit Wilcox (not her real name) and she lived in a home that was not filled with love and nurturing. She had a step-mother who was quite beautiful. When you saw Kit’s step-mother and step-sister in the community, both of them were always dressed in beautiful clothes. However, Kit was not allowed these luxuries. Kit wore old, outdated and tattered dresses and old scuffed shoes to school every day. She was embarrassed and it affected the outcome of her day.
One day, I got this big idea that I would bring clothes in a bag each day to school and Kit would change quickly, before school started every morning and then again at the end of the school day, before she climbed on the bus to go home. Kit loved the idea and we pulled this off for what seemed like a long time (probably a week or two now that I reflect on it) and then we got caught. Kit missed the bus one day because she was changing clothes in the bathroom and she finally admitted to her step-mother why she missed the bus. Needless to say, we were all in the principal’s office the next morning. There was a rule that you could not share or exchange clothes with other children at school.
I will shorten this story and say that what I learned that day was impactful. I did not get into any trouble except for a warning (from the principal who was smiling as she gave the warning). I learned that the world is not black and white. It has a lot of gray in it. I realize that I am very much today who I was at 10, outgoing, outspoken, and through my work with women and in the community, I support those who need to move their lives forward in a positive way.
Society has a way of manipulating our thoughts when we are younger. We begin to hear the “you should do this” statements from people who love and care for us. The years between the ages of 16 and 30 are times of exploration and discovery. Learning more about who we are—who we are to become. We take on new careers, sometimes get married and start a family. And then something happens. Somewhere in our late 30’s, early 40’s, we begin to realize that who we have become is not completely who we are. There is a piece missing. It’s that 10 year old girl speaking to us. That girl who was unaffected by hormones and all of the “shoulds” in our society. I began to hear that voice at 38. It was at that time, that I began to circle back to my authentic self. Today, operating from a place that is who I am at my core, feels really good. In my work, I am fortunate to work with women who are desirous of “operating from their core”, leading life true to their beliefs.
How about you? Who were you becoming when you were 10? Are you that woman today? Are you clearing a path for yourself that is unique to you? I can think of no better time to begin reflecting on this right now—–July 4th, Independence Day. We honor and celebrate this day because we are a free country and we can become and create anything we choose. In many parts of the world, women are not so fortunate. So, as we collectively celebrate our independence, as a Nation and as a people, make sure to create some time to reflect on you at the age of 10 and ask yourself the question: Who was I then? What did I like? Am I mirroring that today in the world?
Anything is possible. Everything is waiting for you.
© 2008 Joy Chudacoff
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Comments & Feedback:
WOW. I just had a “light bulb moment” while reading your article! I’m 46 and have been doing just that ~reconnecting with who I was at age 10 ~ for several years now without even realizing it. I’m looking forward to reading more!