So the last couple days I have been going through my boxes of old papers. Primarily, these consist of school papers. When I began the process, I had three big boxes filled with papers, notes, class assignments, school journals, and books of my morning pages. There are papers from the 80s, the 90s, and the aughts (yes, I enjoyed the chance to say that word). I’m talking about from grade school all the way through college. There are research papers from grade school, history papers from high school, and music compositions from college. And everything in between.
This morning I successfully finished getting through it all. So far, I have released a third of it. Hence what was three boxes is now two (this happened to work really well because we had another use for that box: Christmas ornaments!).
Going through my old assignments and essays, one thing that strikes me is how smart and imaginative I was. And what a great of a student I was! It didn’t matter what the assignment or project was, I did my best at everything. Well, there were probably a few subjects I wasn’t as interested in, but I basically was an academic overachiever, so whether it was English, history, math, music, or a research paper on spiders, I worked my tail off for it!
I have spent a lot of time in recent years lamenting what a hopeless perfectionist I was during my academic years, burning myself out to try to get good grades. And although that was a part of the picture, it’s also true that I always just tried really hard to do a good job. I really took on the assignments that were given, across multiple subjects. If the teacher offered me a challenge, I generally took it on! As a result, I learned tons and really made the most of my schooling years.
I needed to be reminded of this. Looking over my written thoughts from my 12-year old self, or my 17-year old or 19-year old self, I see a smart, cool kid who always gave his best. Not only was he very smart and studious, but he was also very thoughtful, sensitive, and imaginative. Even when he was stressed out, burnt out, or just plain unhappy, he always did his best.
In other words, he was awesome. And the best news of all: I am still that kid! I always have been!
Sometimes it takes going a thorough inspection of Memory Lane to see these things, like looking backwards at the trail of magical bread crumbs you have left behind you, the bread crumbs consisting of how you have lived your life, and liking what you see.