In my journey through the Artist’s Way, this week’s assignment was to mentally time travel to when I was 8, and remember what life was like for me back then.
So here’s what I remember:
When I was 8, it was 1986. I was in 2nd grade. I had a teacher who played guitar and sometimes brought his dog to school. It was a 2nd/3rd grade mixed class, and I competed and won the class spelling bee, beating out kids a grade above me.
I loved reading. And writing stories. And recess. And dresses. My cousins and I played dress up with my grandmother’s clothes, performed plays in her front yard, and had lots of sleepovers where five or more of us would pile into my grandma’s king sized bed.
I rode the school bus and had a best friend. I loved staying at her house in the country, and thought it was cool they had a computer in her dad’s office, wild cats roaming the property, and a huge glass shower.
My family had a cabin, and I loved playing in the snow in the winter, and in the forest in the summer. My favorite was going to the Stanislaus River, which was so cold from the snow run off, but a great place to play on the rocks while my dad pretended to fish. I also liked when we’d go to the general store at the top of the mountain, and I’d get sarsaparilla, which tasted all right but had a cool name.
I liked playing on our swingset in our backyard and throwing rocks for my dogs. I loved making Barbie shoe box villages at my neighbors’ house, dressing up the Barbie’s and braiding their hair. I loved making fairy villages in the stream by our house with the slimy moss, rocks, and sticks. I also liked hiking the hills behind our house with my dad.
The next part of this assignment was to write a letter to my present self from my 8-year-old self. So here’s what I came up with:
Dear Crissi (41),
I think you need to play more. You spend so much time making goals and sitting in front of your computer. But when was the last time you found enjoyment outside? Hike the hills. Go to the river. Make fairy villages. Play. Breathe the fresh air. Watch the sunrise. Remember how to wonder and be amazed. How about finding a place like the Stanislaus River closer to home, or even just making the trek out there? I mean, you have a license now. What’s stopping you?
The thing is, you waste a lot of time wishing you were doing other things. Instead of wishing, just go do them. Life is supposed to be fun. There’s no reason to be this serious. Admit it, even writing sometimes feels like a chore. You can still enjoy your life while being a writer. Your writing may even improve if you focus more on the enjoyment in life.
So your forever assignment – have fun.
What was life like for you at 8-years-old? What did you like to do? What were your favorites? How did you play? Take your own time-traveling journey to 8-years-old, and then, when you’re done, write a letter to your present self from your 8-year-old self. What would your past self say to your present self?
I’d love to read your time travel experience! Share in the comments, leave a link, or tag me in your post so I know where to find it.