You see that sweet, angelic little girl right there? That's me. That is me in my element. Sitting on the dock of my grandparent's camp on Suncook Lake in New Hampshire. That is me at the place that is still my favorite place to be today.
When I really stop and think about it, I haven't changed much at all, and now that I'm approaching 40, I've finally learned to embrace who I am. I'm guessing that I was about 2.5 in this photo, which means that it has literally taken me 37.5 years to actually learn who I am. Sounds like a lot of wasted time exploring who I was not, right? A lot of wasted time spent with the wrong people. A lot of wasted time spent doing jobs and hobbies that I didn't like. A lot of wasted time, worried about making others happy while pushing aside my own wants and needs. There is a lot that this little girl has learned over the years, but if I could go back, here are a few things I'd tell her, and keep in mind that these are still things that I have to tell myself every day.
Never stop dreaming. As you can see in the John Maxwell quote above, "The dream is free but the journey isn't." I'm a dreamer. I'm a hardcore dreamer, and I can assure you that I was definitely dreaming about something in this photo. Maybe I was dreaming about jumping off the dock without swimmies, or maybe I was simply taking in the sound of the water gently hitting the worn tires that served as bumpers for the boat that I loved riding on. But one thing I wish I had known then that I know now, is that a dream is easy, but the work to get there is not. It is the constant lifting up of oneself that makes the majority of us toss our dreams aside, and settle for things that don't make us tick. Keep lifting yourself up little girl.
Write. From my first self-published book, "The Great Turtle Catch," which was released in my third-grade classroom, to the release of Saving Jason in 2014, there was a lot of years in between spent NOT writing. That makes me cringe, thinking of all the characters I could've created by now. But I was set on my path for a reason, and in some sense, my own life can be looked at like a book. All the challenges and struggles from then until now, is the plot. All the seedy characters I've happened upon along the way, are no different than some of the characters I've developed in The Gift and Buried Secrets. All leading up to that climactic moment of today.
Don't let anyone tell you that you cannot accomplish a dream. My dream is to be a best selling author. Heck, I'd be happy just being a mediocre author whose books are known amongst a handful of hardcore readers. And this is where it gets hard little girl. This is the struggle where I have to tell myself to keep writing every day, to keep pushing past the "no's and the doubts" that drift along the surface of my thoughts.
What would you tell your young self today?