Think back to your fondest memory prior to age ten. Mine is the day I met my best friend. Soon after I had moved into my new house, my dad and I were taking a walk around the neighborhood when I spotted a little girl playing in the backyard with her dad. I wanted someone my own age to play with so badly that I had pretty much declared us best friends before we even met. She was so mad that I had interrupted her daddy-daughter time just to come meet her. However, she eventually got over it and soon we were in my backyard fighting over who got what swing. It’s funny to think that, at the time, the most important thing to me was that I got the blue swing, not the red one. That’s the sad thing about life. As we grow older, we lose sight of the little things.

When we were younger, we didn’t think about what we looked like. We didn’t look in the mirror every time we were in a restroom. We didn’t style our hair or do our makeup. And we didn’t take hours to pick out the perfect outfit.

We didn’t care that we looked insane when we were dancing crazily. Or that the ball never went into the goal when we kicked it. It was all about having fun.

We didn’t care about money or time.

When I was younger, the only time I looked in the mirror was while brushing my teeth and, honestly, that’s only because the bubbles that the toothpaste made were so amusing to me.

When I was younger, styling my hair consisted of brushing it. Maybe. The closest I got to makeup was cherry Chap Stick. And when I picked out an outfit all I did was find something I could play in.

When I was younger, I danced around every morning while I was getting dressed. I cranked up the Hannah Montana C.D. and jumped around. If you asked me to do that now, I would probably be too embarrassed because of my lack of dancing ability to do so. When I played soccer it was all for fun, but, now, it’s all about winning.

When I was younger, if I sold a glass of lemonade -only one glass all day- and got a quarter, I was thrilled. At the time, it was like winning the jackpot. Now, if I don’t have enough money it means I can’t do the things I want to and I’m frustrated to say the least.

When I was younger, my schedule was non-existent – if I didn’t finish something on Monday, I would do it on Tuesday. And If I decided to add in extra time to bedazzle my latest art project, I could.

Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t take care of yourself or that you shouldn’t wear makeup or care what you look like. I’m not saying that you should spend your days dancing around the office or the hallways at school. And I’m not saying that you shouldn’t care about money or deadlines. But I am saying that, when you do those things, do them for yourself.

Don’t make yourself look a certain way for other people – inside or out. At the end of the day, you’re the one stuck with yourself – not them. The way I see things, everyone is going to judge you for something. There will always be someone who disagrees with what you think or what you look like. Do what you love, because you love it. No one can take away your passions, your hopes, your dreams. Those are yours. Only yours. Go a day without makeup. Dress in a way that makes you comfortable. Miss the goal every once in a while. Don’t be afraid to dance. Make time for what you want to do. Because you are the one that matters. You are important.

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