My Inner Child

Take any grown-up, and someone, somewhere will trace every one of their interests, talents, and traits back to childhood. A lawyer? She always could argue her way out of any situation! A mechanic? He was always taking things apart!

Although I was always happy and enjoyed life, I was a shy, studious and serious child, and it would surprise no one that I became a librarian. That got me thinking about how I’ve stayed the same since I was very young.

Shy Kid

Shy: Some would say I’m shy even now, but I’m not – I’m reserved. To me, “shy” is a discomfort or inability to deal with social situations, which I no longer feel – I am now thoroughly functional anywhere! In fact, I can deal with tough situations, like public speaking, better than most, because I’ve had to push myself.  I’m actually somewhat grateful for having been shy, because I am comfortable with Quiet. It has morphed into a life-long inner calmness, which I welcome!

I am the responsible, mature eldest child! (???)

Eldest Child: Yep, as the eldest in my family, I’ve got that syndrome down pat! Over-responsible, caretaking, control freak, parent-pleaser, etc. It’s amazing that Rom and I get along as well as we do since he’s an eldest child, too. In my case, because I am a manager at work, perhaps I get it out of my system there, and chill more at home. I did a few things to ease up my Elder Ways though, such as moving far away for 15 years which forced my siblings to behave differently in my absence!

Artsy Kid

Artsy: As a kid, I was forever writing stories and poems, drawing, doodling, colouring and painting. Although I don’t draw or paint routinely now, it did come in handy as a children’s librarian when I did more arts and crafts. But even now, I find I still have a visual sense when it comes to job-related tasks like making signs! That is something I’d like to get back in touch with more. As for writing – just ask my boss, I can write a mean monthly report 🙂

Outdoorsy Kid

Outdoorsy: I was a study in contrasts. I wanted to stay indoors and read as much as possible. Still do! But my mom wisely made me play outside every day. If I were in a grouchy mood, I would sit on a rock and read a book. Or lie in a hammock and read a book. But my siblings and I endlessly explored the woods, built “camps” (forts, lean-tos, etc.), swam, canoed, ice skated, tobogganed, and learned the name of every plant and bug and bird. As an adult I mostly just go for walks and do some gardening. I call myself a lover of the Great Indoors. But I have a feeling that nature will claim me again some day. I just haven’t let it happen!

Sporty Kid

Sporty: Nope, I was not a Sporty Spice! I was one of the least athletic kids ever, in the last-picked-for-the-team category. I was ace at learning the rules of sports; crap at playing them! I just don’t have the “body memory” that athletes have, or their psychology either. I could do the drills and learn the skills but it never became second nature. I wasn’t inactive – as I said, I liked swimming and skating and hiking. I think everyone wants their kids to play team sports so they will become a team player. Well, I was a team player, too – I was the one who organized my group to get our science project done!

Fussy Kid

Foodie: No again! I was a parent’s nightmare, a Fussy Eater. I didn’t like meat, fish, carrots, tomatoes or tomato sauce, melted cheese, onions or garlic, salad, and many more everyday things. I liked peanut butter sandwiches, eggs, beans, and sweets. My tastes really didn’t change until I was in my early 20s and I was invited to people’s homes or out to restaurants with a group, and I had to adapt. As a result, I am by far the most adventurous eater in my family now, and the only one who loves curry and Thai food, and prefers cooking to baking.

Kitty Kid

Cats: I always had a cat for a pet, always liked cats, and still do. No change there!

Anyone who knew me when I was 2 or 12 or 22 would think, “She was always so quiet, no wonder she’s a librarian,” but they might not realize I manage a staff of 25. They know I work in a library, but not that I speak at conferences. I suppose my early temperament will follow me forever. I’ve changed…but I haven’t.

TED Talk by Susan Blackmore. I wish this were me!

How about you?

5 comments

  1. SarahN

    Thanks for the insights! So, recently I found this photo of my brother and I watching a man dig out around a power pole. I have photocopied it and have it at work, because, I do that for my work (as the engineer on projects, I visit site, and today, quite literally, I will watch them put in new poles). Admittedly I won’t have a nice molded plastic outdoor chair like the photo! As far for characteristics for the job I had as a kid, I’m not sure!!

    But I was the eldest, and am driving my bros’ who are living in a sharehouse in my parents former house as we speak (I took photos of the evidence/mess… middle child FLIPPED out!) but I’m not quite, still play water polo (since high school, so 15 years I think!) And I do love the great indoors (despite now having a job that requires me to be outside, which I vehemently disagreed with in all those career surveys in school – I always said I did NOT want a job that was outside!!) That being said, I can escape at any time, back to the office sanctuary, so for that I’m eternally grateful!

    • Water polo is cool! I wish my job had an outdoor component, but at best, I can travel from one library to another, or visit people at other agencies…maybe I should volunteer for more outdoor festivals!

  2. This post has certainly got me thinking! I am in some ways the same now as a child – I always lined all my toys up as if in assembly in school – I like order now, I created lists at every opportunity and didn’t like to share my toys in case they got messed up or broken. I like perfection but at the same time I love the untamed and wild. I loved art and craft and English at school and still do – I started out in Fashion as a designer but am now doing something more like accounting and surprisingly have a passion for both. My whole life is a mixture of opposites. I am a middle child, the overlooked one – I like to keep the peace and please people and to keep everyone happy! Sometimes that responsibility is a burden.

    • Thanks for telling me more about yourself. I guess it shouldn’t be surprising that we can have strong continuity throughout our lives, but marked contrasts also. I would say my artistic tendencies have been channeled more into harmony and order. You too?

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