How am I similar and different from the kid I was at thirteen years old?
Think back to a favorite childhood memory.
Where were you?
Who were you with?
What were you wearing?
What were you doing?
I was in St. Ignace, Michigan on June 26th, 2003. I was outside early in the morning shooting hoops by myself. My family and I were on our annual camping trip to the Upper Peninsula and we were staying at a campground in Mackinaw.
My hair was buzzed short everywhere on my head expect for my forehead, I had a “Princeton haircut” with bangs on the front of my face. I wore a Michigan Wolverine’s basketball jersey with the number 23 on it. I felt like an all-star in that jersey, especially on that day, my thirteenth birthday.
I remember standing in the sun and feeling like a man. Or, I thought I felt like a man. I hadn’t even kissed a girl yet so I wasn’t quite sure, but there was something in the way the sun energized my skin that morning that told me I was a new kind of boy. I stood confidently. I was happy. I felt a deep sense of purpose. And I felt supported.
How are you different from that kid now?
How are you the same?
Next month I’ll be twenty-nine and there isn’t too much different from my thirteen year old self, to the person I am today, regarding the heart. I was curious then and I’m curious now. I used to love math and science and that love is starting to come back. There are a bunch of subtle differences, like my weight, my age, life experience, religious affiliations, and etc., but the essence of me is very much in alignment with the kid I was at thirteen. It brings me joy to meditate on that.
Much of my life has manifested in a roundabout way. At thirteen I was writing poems titled “Never will I ever,” where I talked about never doing drugs, refraining from alcohol until I turned 21 (I was close - I made it to 20 and was in college), and not having sex until marriage. I was a Christian and followed my faith as a young child and into college.
Today, I’m a little different. I market and sell Cannabis professionally and I don’t consider myself a Christian. I still live by faith but the faith is directed in a more proactive, empowering sort of way. I don’t like the word “hope.” I see hope as a by-product of a victim mindset. And although I do believe Christianity can be a* doorway to “Nirvana,” I also think the religion peddles hope and it gives a lot of people who might not understand the higher-level concepts the wrong idea. It encourages them to live passive lives, (*of quiet desperation) hoping God will interject, when the truth is, each individual who walks this planet is responsible for themselves. We each have to take ownership of our own lives. From the inside out.
It’s not easy but it’s the task each of us have to face during our lifetime. We are each on an individual journey. We came into the world alone and death requires we leave the world alone. We live in a society that is full of people living lives of “quiet desperation” - depression and suicide continue to rise. From my point of view, it seems like we struggle healing ourselves because we aren’t looking at the actual issues in each of our individual lives. We focus on the external, largely blaming one another for our misfortunes, when genuine healing requires us to look at the inside and work on ourselves from a meta level mind-space. You can start by prayer or visualizing or whatever you want to call it. I believe we manifest that which is engrained in our hearts.
I resonate with my thirteen year old self. I feel strongly that I was living in my passion back then and I am living in my passions now. I have a job where I’m surrounded by coworkers that I love and care about. My childhood self had dreams of California and adventure and I now live in the Golden State today. I believe the greatest ability of an adult is when they can drop their boundaries and live as children.
I aspire to live with a child-like heart for the rest of my life.
Follow me on social if you’d like. Maybe I’ll be there, maybe I wont.
Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed today’s piece. Glad to have you visiting my neck of cyberspace.