I remember emerging from the cinema after watching the Peter Pan movie with my family and our family friends. A little girl I knew leant over and whispered, ‘do you think he’s real? I do. I’ve seen him.’ I was convinced – Peter Pan was real, and I was going to be a kid forever. That night I left my blinds open and kept watch until I grew too sleepy to watch anymore. To my great disappointment, I never saw him, and it would appear that I didn’t get to stay a kid after all.
When I was a kid, I just wanted to stay that way. I hated the word ‘responsibility’, and I dreaded change. I cried when someone told me that we were doing a unit called ‘growing and changing’ at school (you can guess what that’s all about…) and I distinctly remember the day that I looked in the mirror and noticed that I had hips. I think I vowed to wear skirts forever because I was so embarrassed.
Resisting change is pretty natural – we get excited about the stages we’re in, the friends we have and the places we feel comfortable in – but when we finally decide to let go a little bit (cue Frozen music here), it is the most freeing, exciting and exhilarating experience. When we stop trying to control our lives, the twists and turns we take along the way can truly surprise us.
I’m quite proud of how my life has turned out – it’s not all mine to be proud of, but I think that occasionally it’s good to reflect on the things you’ve done, the people you’ve met and those who’ve influenced you and built your character. I like doing that privately in a journal, or by looking through old photos. I’m glad I enjoyed being silly and having careless fun when I was a kid, and I love looking back on crazy photos (I’ll include a picture of my excitement for toasting marshmallows on a family holiday when I was about 6). Even those awkward early-teen photos are a pleasure to reflect on… mostly because I’m (hopefully) on the other side of it.
These days, I don’t struggle to ground myself in ‘the now’ – in fact, I’ve become so excited about the future and what God’s doing with my life that I tend to stop living in the present. Reflecting on the past and how much I enjoyed living out each stage of my life makes me want to truly enjoy what I’m experiencing now, because I’ll never get to experience it again.
Now is pretty great, anyway.