I recently read a great analogy of the aging process resembling nesting dolls.* The little child, the tender teen, the student, the young adult, the graying parent… each phase of life comes along with us for the next phase, layer upon layer. Each of those people remains inside of us in some form, and together they continue to enlarge us in so many ways.
As I look at the little girl in the photo to the left, it is hard to fathom that this “three-year-old me” is still inside my skin under the layers of years. But she is most certainly in there. She still loves hats. She still loves baskets. (Candy, too.)
I’m finding that maturity isn’t about leaving the younger, more foolish versions of ourselves behind, as if they do not belong in the story of our lives. Those versions of ourselves – versions we may barely remember or did not necessarily like – all help us grow into someone better. The secret is keeping all that is good, learning all the lessons there are to learn, and continuing to embrace each beautiful new layer of wisdom and experience as another part of who we are.
I know all this is a little deep for a “Throwback Thursday.” But, hey, let’s acknowledge our entire story – our “mini me” and our many “me-s” – celebrating all the people we have been, are now, and are becoming.
*The nesting doll analogy comes from the book, Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes, which I mentioned in this previous post.