I read somewhere that “finding yourself as an adult” means returning to the things you loved as a child. This made me think about the things I enjoyed during my childhood that I love even more as an adult. And in proper quarter-life-crisis style (coming from a 20-something), it’s made me think about growth in general. There’s no blueprint or outline to follow through a stage of life growth. In fact, being an adult feels more like following breadcrumbs through a foreign forest and hoping that they lead you somewhere familiar again. That’s what this bit of advice felt like: a breadcrumb that led me a little closer to where I needed to go.
Your 20s are an odd time. Personally, my 20s feel as though I’m simultaneously trying to dissect my childhood and come to terms with generational trauma and healing while also trying to look towards the future and rediscover myself as an adult. It’s as if we’re frozen in a state of constant reflection about the past while envisioning our dreams for the future. Yet somehow, we still try to embrace what are supposedly some of the best years of our lives. It’s a bit much, isn’t it?
I think that’s why the idea of returning to things we loved as children in adulthood feels so helpful. It ties another string between my past and my future to weave my present moment.
As a child, I was obsessed with three things: playing dress-up, being outside, and reading and writing.
Being outside has come easily to me my whole life. I followed reading and writing with ease as well. In fact, both turned into my college degree (a major in writing and literature and a minor in environmental science). Yet, the fashion fell to the wayside somewhere along the way.
I always had a natural style. I loved thinking of different ways to put outfits together. In elementary school, I drew fashion models with my “designs” on them. I took sewing classes in middle school. I won “Most Unique” in high school because of my style. But this all happened passively. I wasn’t really aware of it, or rather, I never saw it as an option to pursue once I hit a certain age. As is what happens to so many things we enjoyed as children, I abandoned the idea that these could be suitable pursuits in adulthood.
By the time I began college, I was (and still am) vehemently obsessed with the show Sex and the City. Not only was it relatable as a woman, but I also realized I was taking inspiration from the fashion, which is an iconic piece of the hit 90s show. Looking back, I realize that a lot of my favorite shows through the years, like Gossip Girl, had a heavy fashion aspect to them that I unwittingly took constant inspiration from.
Fast forward to post-grad, and my first writing job out of college fell in my lap as a recommendation from a friend in an e-commerce sustainable fashion startup. Somehow, I ended up in a position where I was able to work in all three of my inherent passions. It reminded me how much I still loved clothes as a creative outlet.
This opportunity and realization only reminded me how true that original statement is: I returned to all the loves I held as a child.
While I still feel like a lost 20-something—as the rest of us do—I’ve been able to move forward with my inner child guiding me back to what I loved. Art, cooking, instruments, and general artistic expression that got tamped down as I grew up blossomed anew for me.
I urge you to remember the things you may have disregarded, tossed aside, or all but forgotten in your adult years. May this be a reminder and another step towards finding yourself on a familiar path.