How to Reflect on Your Childhood and Reignite Your Passions in Retirement
I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I set intentions and while my intention for the year is to experience more joy, I enjoy reading articles and blog posts about reinvention.
There is a school of thought that says that we can choose, at various stages of life, to reinvent ourselves. It’s a fascinating concept. Could I, as an aging woman of some physical substance, reinvent myself as a ballerina? Nope. I don’t think so. What I can do is to reignite myself!
What does that even mean?
Reflect on Your Childhood
Think back to your childhood years. Did you have interests and passions? Did you tinker in the backyard plotting adventures? Did you draw pictures of dreams that had meaning perhaps only to you?
As a mom, I devoted my life to my kids. I reasoned it was only a short season of my life, and I wanted to give my all to my children. However, I now realize that the way we chose to spend our time in those years will have an impact on their entire lives.
When you choose to mother that way, you can sometimes forget who you are. I know I did. Life is full of compromises and exchanges. When I was actively mothering, I chose to exchange my time, energy, talents and sometimes my dreams, for the benefit of my children.
I have no regrets and I look back at active mothering with great love. It was a busy sunshine time and I loved nearly all of it. But that time has ended, and it is a new day and a new year.
My children are all adults now. My house is quieter. Instead of coming home to busyness, noise and chaos, I come home to myself.
Are you at that point in life? If so, then it really is time to come home to yourself and to reignite those interests and passions that uniquely fit you.
Looking Back to Look Ahead
I am the youngest of eight children. Even though I am over 60, my siblings still refer to me as ‘the baby.’ Much of my free time was spent copying passages from their high school and college text books, ‘teaching school’ to my dolls and stuffed animals, and writing short stories.
Is it any wonder that I became a writer/lawyer? There were clues in my early play that hinted to my future.
How about you? When you had time for free play as a child, what were the things you did? Did you care for sick baby dolls in a hospital? Did you teach your stuffed animals? Did you build cardboard space ships to take imaginary journeys?
What might these childhood memories tell you about unignited passions that you have not had time to develop, or that you have hidden all these years?
What If Nothing in Particular Stands Out?
If looking back doesn’t reveal anything in particular, this is also an answer! It is an indication of how much you have changed and grown. But let’s take another shot at this looking backwards concept.
When you were a child, what were the things you enjoyed? Why do you think you enjoyed them? I enjoyed going to the library because it fed my voracious reading habit and insatiable curiosity.
One mom I spoke to loved baking in the kitchen with her mom. This memory was so powerful, she turned it into a sideline business in which she bakes cupcakes and other items for a small circle of friends and clients.
Another mom followed her dad around doing home repairs and decorating. As an empty nester, she now blogs about her home improvement adventures. She is having a ball memorializing her adventures and selling products through an affiliate program.
Think about the activities you engaged in and the traditions your family had. What stood out from them? Does this give you a clue as to an interest or passion to reignite?
Maybe your childhood was traumatic or unpleasant or you just plain don’t remember much. Many of us are in this boat! Yet there are stirrings of your heart that are waiting for you to listen to them!
Here are some questions to get you thinking:
What Have You Always Wanted to Try?
What are some things you have always wanted to try, but haven’t had the time, money or opportunity to delve into? This exploration has been a complete blast for me!
I am learning more about my love for writing and trying numerous artistic things I never had time to do, including basket weaving and jewelry making! The time and opportunity to write have reignited a passion within me to communicate, share and help. How about you?
When Did You Feel Fulfilled and Happy?
Think about your past 10 years. Were there times when you said to yourself, “I was made for this!” For me, it was teaching and mentoring my children. That experience was a confirmation that I wanted to work with people in a way that encourages, teaches and inspires.
Maybe you had the “I was made for this!” thought when you were volunteering to work with preschoolers or decorate a room for a special party. Think back on those times and see what they are trying to tell you.
What Groups Appeal to You?
What group or societal need tugs at your heartstrings? I cannot watch the animal welfare group commercials without nearly weeping. So, I support and volunteer for animal causes.
I know another mom whose heartstrings are plucked by the exploitation of the sex trade. She works with a group that educates and raises funds to help rescue victims of the trade.
Maybe you really feel for the homeless or children in foster care. Listen to these heartbeats. They may hold the key to uncovering the passion of your life.
There is so much to explore and do! Life after motherhood can be a full and wonderful life. Take some time to make a study of you – your past interests, your current interests and the beating of your heart. You will find clues for your next adventure in life!
How about you? Are you ready to reignite your life? Have you done some of this self-inquiry work? What did you learn? Are you ready to take action to see where your next path leads? Please join the conversation below!