By Nicole Gasparian
Recently, I felt like my life has been hitting a plateau. After a rocky start to the new year, I can’t help but perceive my life as uneventful. There’s no spark or thrill. Maybe it’s the lazy summer nights or the lack of air during the blazing summer days. Day by day life is all the more consistent while also being completely inconsistent. Life right now is at a strange in-between place where all I can think about is that I am in desperate need of change.
As someone who fears and seemingly resents change, this was a difficult conclusion for me to reach. Change is scary, it’s unpredictable, and the outcome of whether or not I’m going to like the result at the end of the journey is never certain. Yet even with all of these thoughts looming in my head, I couldn’t shake it off. I needed a change. I was craving it.
So, I tried to change some aspects of my life I thought needed improvement. I set out to rekindle old friendships, join the gym and began cooking for myself at least once a day. I even took it upon myself to start watching critically-acclaimed movies to broaden my horizons (in hindsight, this was just unnecessary because I understood nothing).
While all these changes (minus the overly-complicated movies) ended up having great results in my life, I still didn’t feel like I lit the fire inside of myself that I used to have before the stresses of life began to weigh me down. That got me thinking: when was the last time I really felt that inner fire in me? How long have I let the burdens of the world stomp out the flames within my soul?
I traced it back to when I was a little kid. Sixth-grade to be exact. I know you must be thinking, middle school? Why in the world would you be happiest then?
Honestly, I don’t think I was the happiest then but I do think that was the last portion of my life where I felt unapologetically myself. Once seventh-grade started, I began feeling the pressures of conformity and have been washed away little-by-little since. But now at this moment, I just want to be the same unapologetic little girl who wore a tie and suspenders to school to bring some personality into her plain school uniform.
I thought about some things I could do to tap into my younger self. I could begin painting and drawing, but that would most likely leave me discouraged. I could start doing all the outdoorsy activities I loved as a kid like archery, but that would require a lot of money that I am in no position to spend. Little did I know the answer was plain and simple. It hit me one day while driving past a local bookstore; I just needed to read. And not read just any amazing book, but the most amazing books that my younger self was head over heels in love with. I decided I was going to re-read the Harry Potter series.
I have not felt so giddy and excited when reading for a very long time. I’m not the most avid reader, but I pick up a couple of books here and there each month and work my way through them. All of them are always new, fresh, and exciting; I enjoyed reading them. But none of those books had the same effect or have given me the same happy feelings as when I began re-reading my favorite childhood series. I could only describe it as the feeling you get when you’re completely enthralled in a place, movie, or even person. All you feel is the light skipping of your heart as your eyes are held wide open while smiling with joy.
It was as if I had brought myself to life. I couldn’t escape my imagination during the day and I had something I was desperately looking forward to right before bed. Reading the stories and relating to them as an adult resonated with me at a larger scale than when I was a child.
Re-reading the Harry Potter series was something I did for myself as light enjoyment. I wasn’t trying to gain a new skill or better my life, I was just trying to get back to a happy time; to a time when I was actually enjoying being myself. Whether you’re going through nothing, something, or everything all at the same time, reminiscing about your childhood can serve to be an amazing reminder of who you are. In the spirit of embracing your inner child, I encourage you to take on this challenge and find a part of your memories that remind you of your last happiest self. The version of you that is as unapologetic as it is full.
This article was originally published on Witted Roots.