How What You Did for Summer as a Kid Might Change Your Life Now

Remember when you were a kid going back to school in the fall feeling nervous and excited and maybe a little disappointed about the summer ending so soon? Do you remember the assignment to write about what you did over summer vacation? For some reason, while lying in bed this morning, I started thinking about that assignment.

Summer is my favorite time of year and this one has been especially great. I’ve given myself permission to meander (thanks, Ellen), to explore new worlds, and to live more spontaneously, allowing how I feel to dictate what I do.

What I did over summer vacation…

As I thought back to how I might have finished that sentence when I was eight, ten, or twelve years old, I realized something interesting. Answers like walking in the woods, going to the beach, planting a garden, or riding my bike, are the same things that are making me happy today at fifty-three. As a young girl I loved spending endless hours outdoors. Birdsong, twilight, trees, flowers, clouds and wind, all captivated my attention.

They provided a source of joy that was a natural part of life back then (long before television, computers, organized sports, and cellphones). I feel for today’s kids who might be missing out on this vital and necessary connection to the natural world. Sometimes we have to go back in time to find clues to the things that our soul needs today. I’ve used a few techniques to help me get this information. For example, I’ve studied photos of myself at a young age. This is me, for example, around eight years old and it wasn’t until I saw this photo that I realized my love for flowers – roses and peonies, in particular, started long ago.

You can also use music to lead you back to your passions. I went to the iTunes store, put 1970's in the search bar, and created a playlist of my favorite music from high school. Then I took the playlist out for an early morning walk. Memories flooded into my mind - especially related to my love of music and movies. 

This led me to take singing lessons and see more films. As a matter of fact, I combined both this weekend by taking in a matinee of an outstanding film called 20 Feet From Stardom. The movie is about background singers - the unsung heroes - behind musicians and bands like The Rolling Stones, Steely Dan, Stevie Wonder, Sting, and Bruce Springsteen. If you love music, run, don't walk, to see this film. It's fantastic! 

For me, the natural world has been and always will be a magical place. For you it might be a baseball field, a fort in the woods, a closet filled with colorful clothes and shoes, or a kitchen just waiting for you to make a delicious meal. If you invite your kid to speak, he or she might help you uncover something special. I have no doubt that what we love speaks to us in some way every day. We just need to pay attention.  

I'm learning to do that more and more. As a matter of fact, this afternoon, while lying on the deck staring up at the bright blue sky (something I always did as a kid), this cloud came floating by...

I got the message. Will you?

Take Action Challenge

Whether it's summer in your hometown or winter, it's always a good time to breathe a little life into a childhood passion. I'd love to hear what you discover, so please post something your kid loved to do on my  Facebook page here

I can only imagine what this guy's little kid loved to do when he was young . Check out this video here




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Cheryl Richardson

Cheryl Richardson is the author of The New York Times bestselling books, Take Time for Your Life, Life Makeovers, Stand Up for Your Life, The Unmistakable Touch of Grace and her new book The Art of Extreme Self Care. She was the first president of the International Coach Federation and holds one of their first Master Certified Coach credentials.

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