Good childhood memories are few and far between for me. The ones I do have, I will cherish forever.
One of my favorite memories as a little girl was getting my first bike. My parents didn’t make that much money to shower us with gifts for Christmas and my older siblings knew that, so they always took it upon themselves to chip in their own money to make sure my younger sister and I got something cool.
I remember going into the living room on Christmas morning and seeing it right by the tree. I knew right away that there was a bike wrapped underneath that paper. I tore the paper off it right away. My sister Lilia got one too and we both raced to see who could get the wrapping paper off the fastest.
Mine was red and shiny. It had these beautiful red and white streamers coming out of the handle bars. It had a long banana seat and training wheels so I wouldn’t fall over. I think I was about 8 years old…so yeah, I needed those training wheels.
We lived in a cul-de-sac, so I would ride my bike from the moment I got home from school till the street lights came on. I rode that bike up and down the cul-de-sac over and over until my mom yelled for us to come inside.
I rode the bike so much that as time went by, the training wheels loosened up. The wheels would sorta move out of place and before I knew it, I was riding with them pulled all the way back and I was riding on two wheels.
I thought I was the fastest bicycle rider on my entire street. Every time a car drove down our street, I would race along side them. Them on the street and me with my streamers in the air on the sidewalk. They had no clue I was racing them and I felt like I was faster than all the cars in the neighborhood.
In my little head, I was unstoppable. I seriously thought I was going to be the next speed bicyclist and no one could tell me different.
It wasn’t until I started to verbally express my dreams and hopes of being this incredible young “Tour De France” protege to the neighborhood kids that my feelings of being unstoppable started to fade away.
I don’t remember the exact conversation but it sorta went something like this:
After racing a neighborhood car, me getting off my bike and chatting with a kid from the neighborhood:
P: Did you see that? I totally beat him.
Neighborhood kid: Don’t be stupid.
P: Come on, I was clearly winning.
Neighborhood kid: You didn’t beat him stupid, he was driving slow.
P: No he wasn’t, I totally beat him. No one can beat me on my red bicycle!
Neighborhood kid: You are so dumb, my mom told me that the cars can’t go fast because kids are playing outside. So you see, they have to drive slow.
P: That’s not true, I am super fast. No car can beat me on this bike.
Neighborhood kid: Pffft *insert laughter here*
Cut to me going home in tears and telling my older brother. He laughed out loud and told me that the kid was right. I remember crying and feeling my whole 8 year old world shatter.
My point is, most of us have experienced this. And it doesn’t stop when we are kids. It continues well into our adulthood.
When we are kids, we think anything and everything is possible. We believe in the impossible and dream big. Our imaginations take us to places that as adults we have trouble going to. The reason: we stop dreaming!
Because as we grew up, we were told:
No, you can’t do that.
Are you kidding? That’s impossible.
Who do you think you are?
Yeah right, no one in our family is that smart, talented, etc.
You’ll die before you can ever achieve that.
Why do you want to do that? That’s hard.
Leave that to the professionals.
You’re not good at that
And so many more…
We have allowed those negative dream killing voices to stop us dead in our tracks. We convince ourselves that they are right and we should be “realistic” and stop dreaming.
So I didn’t become the world’s best bicyclist. And honestly, there are many things I didn’t do and many things I held back on because I allowed the negative voices to swallow me up. But imagine if I was told the opposite of those statements? Imagine who I could have been if I was encouraged and uplifted?
As an adult, I am doing my best to drown out the negative voices. I keep a dream journal. I have outlandish statements written in my dream journal.
Will they ever come true? Actually some have come true.
And the rest… I can only hope those will too.
When it’s hard for me to dream, I sit quietly and picture myself on that red bicycle with the streamers in the air and I just ride into the horizon of my imagination. My inner child is unstoppable and so is yours. So spend time this week being your younger self and start dreaming again.