15 lessons from my 7 year old self It's Simply Lindsay

Recently I came across some true gold, buried in my parents’ basement – a school journal from 1994. I quickly immersed myself in my 7-year-old life, approaching it the same way as when faced with a new box of Oreos: needing to devour it at once yet wanting to savor every last tiny morsel. So that’s what I did. I read it out loud, page-by-page, wanting to speed read and skip ahead to see what’s next but kept cool and reserved to cherish my youngster words. My lucky husband got to pause his show and his work for the night until I made it through the whole year, as I shared my most personal childhood confessions, likes and dislikes, and pretty much every little detail that ever happened to me in 1994. What can I say? I was always a writer and didn’t want to miss a thing.

As I smiled, gasped, and laughed so hard I actually cried (not just as in the expression…there were tears), I realized there were so many raw, honest truths from my 7-year-old self that apply to me today. I’ll share excerpts from my journal that coincide with my top 15 lessons that I learned from my 7-year-old self.

15 Lessons From My 7-Year-Old Self

Revisit your old passions: “My favorite subjects are: writing, writing stories, reading, listening to stories…I’m going to write a story called The Witch and the Villager and I’m writing one now called The Crayon and the Spookhouse.”

When you’re a kid, you have all the time and freedom in the world to pursue your passions. Between your imagination running free, little-to-no self-awareness, and no judgment from your peers, you were free to collect rocks, bugs, and write stories to your heart’s content. As we grow up, we lose sight of some of our interests; life, people, and possibly fear of judgment get in the way, but it’s time to revisit your old passions and find time to resurrect them!

Make time for social activities: 1994 was filled with lots of events, such as Aladdin on Ice, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (where we went backstage after the show), Snow White on Ice, Grease the musical, Medieval Times, bon fires, horseback riding, birthday parties, and sleepovers, not to mention four trips we took that year.

Just because you’re a “responsible adult,” doesn’t mean all of your weekends have to be filled with cleaning the house and running errands. Make it a point to do something social, and perhaps out of the ordinary, with your family and friends. Bonus points if your activity happens on ice, like many of mine did growing up.

Celebrate your strengths, be aware of your weaknesses: “I was asked to move up on my gymnastics team. In soccer, Maggie and I are the best on our team. We always score because we pass to each other. I know how to spell a really hard word. I’ll spell Turquoise. On my homework, I’m having trouble doing math. Can you help me with frames and arrows?”

Why do we feel scared to admit our strengths as we grow up? Celebrating your strengths doesn’t mean you’re boasting – embrace and share them with others! Equally as important is being self-aware and recognizing your weaknesses. Ask for help and make room for yourself to grow. (That’s the infamous Maggie in the picture with me below!)

It's simply Lindsay

Don’t limit relationships by age: “I just got engaged to a first grader. He gave me a ring. It’s so pretty. I’m getting married on Melinda’s birthday.” And, “I made new friends at gymnastics – they are a lot older than me and I like them.”

Age is just a number. Don’t feel constrained by someone’s age if you’re interested in a friendship or relationship. Focus on the qualities of the person, not their birth year.

Practice makes perfect: I often talk about practicing the piano, gymnastics, and soccer. “After gymnastics practice, I went home and did a hand stand flip flop flip flop.”

Sure I rolled my eyes behind my mom’s back when she yelled “WRONG” from the kitchen as I hit an incorrect note during piano practice. Sure I felt tired sometimes after gymnastics and soccer practices, but guess what? It really is true that practice makes perfect. If you don’t practice skills, you’ll lose them. I wish I would have kept up conversational Spanish – I was one class short of minoring in it in college, and because I didn’t practice it after graduation, my skills are definitely limited.

soccer

Be kind and accepting: “I made a new friend. Her name is Beth. Everyone is mean to Beth but me. Everyone thinks she’s weird. I think she’s nice.”

Kindness wins. Always. Is there a new person at work who eats alone? Ask her to join you for lunch! Are your co-workers gossiping about a colleague’s bad sense of fashion? Stand up for her and change the topic. Learn how to respond to negativity with kindness and about how moms can be mean girls in the adult world.

Take an audit of the people in your life: Was anyone really into making lists of things as a kid? I mean, like, everything? Lists of colors, songs, movies, friends, etc.? Me, too. Make a note of the people you surround yourself with or possibly who you admire. Is everyone on that list enhancing your life? If not, it might be a good idea to reconsider everyone’s placement in your life.

15 lessons from my 7-year-old-self

(Yes, that’s Donny Osmond and Johnny Seaton in my picture and on my People I Like list. And yes, Buddy Holly made the list, too.)

15 lessons from my 7-year-old-self

Have confidence: “Ryan, Garret, and Nick kept asking me to dance. They kept bugging me and following me around but I said No! Garret’s big brother asked me to dance. I think he’s cute but still said no, I’ll dance with him next year. I bet he can’t wait until then.”

To be honest, I’m kind of tired of hearing magazines and the media tell women to have confidence because men love it! Can’t we have confidence because we value ourselves and are proud of ourselves, for ourselves? Yes, we can! Show your confidence, even if it is to yourself at the end of the day in your journal.

Try something new: “With my new brownie troop, we went to the woods and I got to taste maple syrup right out of the tree.” 1994 also included a river walk boat tour and fossil hunting.

Did anyone else do really cool things when they were little? Between my parents, school, Girl Scouts, and camp, I was exposed to such unique activities that were not only fun, but also educational. I will always love learning and want to try new experiences as an adult. I think Living Social and Groupon might be a good place to start; I always see the coolest events on there!

Keep an open mind: “I had to go to a Power Ranger thing. My sister and I thought it would be boring, but it turned out it was awesome!”

I used to be extremely social and outgoing when I was younger, through part of college. As I moved into my late 20’s, I became more selective with my social engagements and often found myself turning down invites or going into events with a bad attitude. Keep an open mind because I really do believe in the power of positivity. Have a good attitude going into something you’re not looking forward to because who knows? You just might have fun.

Written correspondence: “My sister and I went to camp. My favorite counselors were Alex and Terry. My sister got their addresses so we can write to them. I have so many other pen pals too!”

Handwritten notes is a lost art, one that I attempt to bring back to life. I have always had stationary since I was a girl so I could write notes to friends, family members, and pen pals. Surprise someone with a handwritten note or a funny card and send it in the mail. Don’t forget about writing heartfelt thank you notes, too.

Make your own fashion statements: “Do you like my hat and dress today? My hat is special because it’s my Easter hat! I tried on a lot of hats but could not find the right one. I love my hat- it sort of matches. I’m glad I got to wear it to school even though nobody else dresses up.”

I love keeping up with fashion trends on Instagram especially, but I firmly believe in wearing what you love and owning it. I have always loved hats and had quite the collection when I was young. Not only baseball caps, which I did also love, but I’m talking flip-up Blossom-style hats and fancy ones too. I would wear them anywhere I pleased, even to school.

15 lessons from my 7-year-old-self

Often as women, we call our friends to see what they’re wearing out somewhere so you can make sure you coordinate looks, don’t match, and are on the same level of style. Don’t let someone else’s fashion dictate your outfit – if my sister and I did that, we wouldn’t have been able to rock our equally loud-printed floral dresses, and look how that turned out? Own it!

15 lessons from my 7-year-old-self

When you’re sick, focus on the positives: “I took a warm bath and watched Wheel of Fortune. My mom said I could have pop! (I just love being sick!) When I was laying on the couch, I smelled our lilacs and smiled.”

Nobody likes to be ill, but almost worse than being sick is hearing someone complain about it. I swear, adults are worse than kids when it comes to being sick! Try to enjoy the little things when you can, like stirring the bubbles out of Ginger Ale and soaking in a warm bath.

Respond to negativity with kindness: Even when your sister is being a crab and learns to say “shut up” to you, you don’t have to say “shut up” back! Write about your feelings in your journal, and ultimately, respond to her with kindness. That’s when she needs it most.

Respond with kindness

Take pride in your family: This one is simple, but you can lose sight of it as you grow up and your family spreads in different directions. Remember how important, cute, and special your siblings have always been to you.

It's Simply Lindsay

Lasting Thoughts

Maybe you have your own childhood journal you can dig out, or at the very least, I’d like you to take a trip down memory lane. Share with me your childhood life lessons that apply to you now.

Everywhere
  • Lauren Angelico

    Oh my gosh I love this and I’m very sorry that I was crabby and told you to shut up!

    • Lindsay Katherine

      That’s okay! BFF’s : )

  • Those are great lessons and sometimes I wish we could realize how important they are in the moment. Very insightful! Thanks for sharing such an important time of your life.

    • Lindsay Katherine

      Thank you for reading – it’s fun and illuminating to look back into old journals like that.

  • these are awesome lessons. I wish I cold have a conversation with my younger self sometimes to remind me of things I’ve forgotten like these!

    • Lindsay Katherine

      I totally wish I could hang out with younger me – how cool would that be?

  • Joules (Pocketful of Joules)

    Love, love, love all of these lessons and I will have to pin this one so I can review it every couple months!

    • Lindsay Katherine

      Thanks so much! Hope you found inspiration or humor in these lessons : )

  • I am very impressed by your 7 year old self penmanship! I think it’s better than my currently…..in all honesty I love this post! That is seriously a gem you stumbled upon!

    • Lindsay Katherine

      hahah oh well thank you – I do have some high school senior students whose handwriting is quite comparable to this : )

  • Okay, 7 Year Old You seemed to have her head on pretty straight! This is fantastic. My mom actually flew out with some of my journals from when I was younger and they are….ridiculous. Here’s one of my favorite entries (from my freshman year of high school): “I did it! we held hands! he was coming out of the shepard building and his hands were in his pockets. I though “oh well-I wasn’t expecting anything” but once again, Harry came to my rescue. He (for some reason) held out his hand and shook Brian’s! Before he could put it back into his pocket, I slid my hand into his. At first, he didn’t know what I was doing, but once I curled my fingers around his hand he gave a comprehensive “oh” and squeezed my hand. Then he said “your fingers are freezing!” I smiled as he squeezed my hand again. I am SO happy! I LOVE him!”

    ….yeah, I used to write my journal entries like romance novels…and I was so obsessed with this boy…this was all before cancer straightened me out, haha!

    • Lindsay Katherine

      Oh Chelsie, that is AMAZING!! My high school journal sounds very similar – isn’t it crazy how those little things were your whole world when really, it’s so insignificant? Especially in your case, in the light of your cancer. You should totally write a post where you divulge some of your journal entries and lessons learned!!

    • I love it! I didn’t keep a journal… I’d write random “entries” on random looseleaf or in the middle of school notebooks (thanks, ADHD!), but all of mine were written like romance novels, too. 🙂 Glad it wasn’t just me 😉

  • Tiffany Austin

    These are all lovely lessons. Is it possible we only get more close-minded with age. Or maybe it hits a peak in our 20s when we think we know it all and then we gradually chill out again – ha! I love each and every one of these!

    • Lindsay Katherine

      I think that’s a great and accurate way of putting it! Completely agree with you about thinking we know it all in early 20’s and coming to our senses after : )

  • These are such great lessons. When we grow up we tend to get busy and forget to make time for most things. I like the lesson where you mention to make time for social activities.

    • Lindsay Katherine

      Thanks for reading – I’m definitely going to take my own advice and make more time for social activities : )

  • Love this post! That is so awesome that you found that!

    • Lindsay Katherine

      ha aw thanks Stefanie!

  • THIS is so beyond precious. And beautifully written. I was moved to tears seeing the 7 year old Lindsay and how she is still so similar to the Lindsay now. I love the raw honesty of this post. I feel like I strangely know you so much better from meeting you as a child! We would have been best friends! I used to keep a journal as well and “wasn’t good at math.” I cracked up reading about how you wrote your sister was a crab!!! This is too precious. I really should dig out my old journals! Thanks for the idea, love. <3

    • Lindsay Katherine

      You are so sweet!!! We would have been besties at every stage of our life, I’m not surprised : ) Let me know what pearls of wisdom you find in your journals!!

  • This is the sweetest thing, Lindsay! It is so fun to look back in your past and find gems of wisdom and insight! 🙂 You were so adorable too… no wonder you’re a fashionista now! 😉

    • Lindsay Katherine

      haha aww thanks! This made me smile today, Daisy.

  • You sound like such a FUN kid! I love hearing kid’s thoughts (which comes in handy, working with 4th graders every day). This is such a creative and awesome post, and I think it’s true– we can learn SO much from kids!

    • Lindsay Katherine

      I’m sure you have all sorts of stories, hilarious and wise, from your experiences with kids : )

  • Sarah Koves

    What fun trip down memory lane. Makes we want to go through a box of stuff in our basement that I saved from middle school. I have my senior year journal somewhere too…oooh project idea.

    • Lindsay Katherine

      I hope you’re inspired to dig out your own journals!!

  • These are wonderful lessons. And I have to totally agree with you about confidence. I think it’s wonderful to be confident and to value ourselves…that is so important…no matter how difficult that can be to accept and learn yourself.

    • Lindsay Katherine

      Most people definitely lose their childhood confidence as they grow up; it’s sadly natural.

  • This is amazing!! Sometimes I think kids aren’t given nearly as much credit for their wiseness! I couldn’t agree more about all of these, especially taking pride in your strengths and acknowledging your weaknesses! Love this so much 🙂

    • Lindsay Katherine

      Aw thanks for reading and for your comment, Hannah! I’m glad you found some value in it : )

  • this might be my favourite post i’ve read this week. Not only because it’s adorable (I may need to hunt down some of my old diaries) but because of how tru it is that kids just GET some things that we forget as adults. It’s nice to be reminded of that.

    Great post Lindsay!

    • Lindsay Katherine

      You are so sweet, this comment just made my day!! Thanks Laura : )

  • oh what a great post. love you lines about magazines and just wearing what makes you happy, though you put it much better!
    Also your hat is awesome!!

    • Lindsay Katherine

      Thanks so much, Angela ; )

  • How adorable!! If I could go back and find journals I had when i was younger, I know I could learn a lot of things from my younger self. I loved going to 4-H Camp when I was younger and finding “pen pals” to write to. Gosh those times were so much fun. I found that I had so many friends of different ages when I was younger. I hung our with everyone. Now that I am older I am selective who I give my time and attention to. I love that you wrote that your sister was a crab. Too funny! Thank You for sharing!

  • Wow. I wish I still had my childhood journals! It would be so cool to have. You WERE quite the writer as a child, I would also keep journals for a bit and then stop…and then start again months later. It took me all of high school to get through an entire journal. haha. These are all certainly valuable lessons though, especially the one about making time for your passions.

  • Kelsie Kleinmeyer

    Oh, I love this so much! And the photos are priceless ha! Great advice from your smart little self!

  • This is such a cute post! It’s priceless than you have your childhood journal and can go back and laugh and learn from your 7 year old post. It sounds to me like you were on to quite a few things as a kid, for sure!

    All the Best,
    Allison | http://www.LiveLifeWellBlog.com

  • This was such a cute post! I love how you pulled out lessons from your childhood diary, and I have to say that you were a much nicer 7 year old than I was! I was so petty and it was all about silly things! How fun that you found it! Love the photo of you with Donny Osmond! Too funny! And I was obsessed with Buddy Holliday too!

    xo Annie

    • Lindsay Katherine

      You are kidding!!! You loved Buddy Holly too?? Kindred spirits. I’m so happy we’re connecting on all the levels : )

  • Paige Allison

    I can’t believe your mom yelled “wrong!” when you were practicing! I love everything about this post and your life lessons. Also, I’d totally read the books you wrote as a girl because I love Halloween and they sound right up my alley 😉

    • Lindsay Katherine

      Oh yes, I still cringe when I hear it in my head…who am I kidding? When I play the piano at her house even now she’ll do it. We would have been great pals even as kids : )

  • Oh my gosh. What a fun thing to find. I often think about what my old diaries would say. This is gold.

  • These are great life lessons. I love the people audit one. I remember making those lists of people I like too! Haha.

    • Lindsay Katherine

      Lists were all the rage back in the day! I would make list of people I liked, colors, movies, etc.

  • Love this Lindsay! You were such an adorable child, and it’s amazing to look back on all the important lessons you learned over the years. I definitely agree with making your own fashion statements! 😉

    • Lindsay Katherine

      Aw thanks Cara!

  • Neely

    This is a brilliant idea for a post and I love the celebrate strengths and be aware of weaknesses!

    • Lindsay Katherine

      Thanks so much, Neely!

  • I love this!! I am going to encourage my daughter’s to journal more.

    • Lindsay Katherine

      You definitely should!! She’ll love looking back on it : )

  • Ruthie Ridley

    Loved all the flash backs!! Great post love!!

    • Lindsay Katherine

      Aw thanks so much Rutie! Appreciate you reading.

  • Kristin Kruse

    This is so amazing. I love how you reflected on each of these & it brought back a flood of memories for me too! Lists were everything…’my favorite songs right now’ was a big one for me. I can only imagine what songs those were!! Thank you so much for sharing these with us!

    xox,
    Kristin

    • Lindsay Katherine

      lists were SO cool – i would love to know the favorite songs lists throughout childhood, too. for me, probably a lot of oldies (i thought that was cool), Spice Girls, Hanson, Backstreet

  • Ciera Chang

    Aww, love those throwback pictures! Such a great time reflecting on your childhood!

    xoxo, CiCi
    http://www.worldwidestylista.com

  • Such a fun post! Love how you took a trip down memory lane 🙂

    Lauren
    http://www.anexplorersheart.com

    • Lindsay Katherine

      Thanks Lauren, and thanks for reading!

  • Erin

    Such a great post, I love all the pics! I love diving back into my past, it is always so fun to remember “the good ol’ days”.

  • I don’t know how I’m just now seeing this post… but it may be my favorite on your whole blog!! We totally would’ve been fast friends circa 1994 🙂 Seems you saw the world a lot like I did, even if I stunk at writing down that perspective and hanging onto it. 🙂 I remember one diary entry from when I was maybe 8 or 9, and it was about how my mom let me put my head on her shoulder in church that morning. She wasn’t super-demonstrative, so it stuck. It was the only entry I ever made in my little Pocahontas diary with the little lock on it. I think my high school journal had two entries in it, both about (different) boys, lol! But mostly, I wrote on looseleaf or in school notebooks, and those are all long gone as far as I know. I need to encourage Abbie and Sam to journal, or at least do annual interviews or something with them 🙂