Holding the onto the ideal to follow your heart is well and good as long as you are in touch with your “heart”. But how easy is it to know your heart? I suppose a child is nothing but heart and so, for me, childhood desires gain vintage, like wine, and become more valuable for it. But as an adult how does one go about sifting through the many preconceptions and outside influences that one gathers from the course of life? Does “I want to be a dancer” translate “I want to be cool and popular” or is it something innate, something true to who I am at the deepest level?

For example, I have loved gazing up into the canopies of leafy trees ever since I was a baby, since before anyone could influence me one way or the other. Therefor, this leafy tree love must be true to who I am at the deepest level.

I have loved swimming ever since I learned how, have always loved the feeling of silky water flowing past my weightlessly free body.

When I was 14 I fell in love with dance. So I have always given this love the benefit of childhood vintage. However, a 14 year old is much more easily influenced by her peers than, say, a 5 year old. Of course… I also loved dancing when I was 5…

When I was 21 I told my friend that I dreamt of living in a small town on a lake one day – swimming in the summer, skating in the winter, beautiful leafy trees all around, slow intentional living and the close knit community that comes with less people.

Can I trust these desires developed later in my youth? And at what point does one stop referring to what 8 year old Heather wanted and start discovering what 28 year old Heather wants now, in the present. Are these 2 versions on myself different? Can they be? If so, how different?

If you think about it the small town desire combines a number of 5year old Heather likes: leafy trees, swimming, friends. So in this case 5 and 21 year old Heather are similar.

I feel as though I am constantly sending myself back to the drawing board of youth. I want the freedom to explore adulthood – and not just in the sense of, “ok Heather, now lets come up with some mature, adult desires like getting a job and owning a house.” I feel like I’m crossing the line between childhood and adulthood and I wonder if adult Heather is different from child Heather. At some point I think one must mature past the peer pressured daze of youth and, having learned from life experiences, settle into a new definition of self. However, zesty, passionate, 20 year old Heather was very sure she knew everything there was to know about how one’s life should be lived and if she met me now I worry that she would be dissappointed in me…

I am discovering a contemplative side of myself. Someone quiet and thoughtful and not altogether different from my childhood self, but remarkably so. Have I turned over this new leaf as a cover to hide myself from the pain of rejection or as a result of years of forced solitude (being an only child)? Or is it that as I mature and mellow out and am less often surrounded by the expectation to ‘party all the time,’ I am finally able to appreciate this quality? If I was truely a high energy extrovert would I be able to competely enjoy 3 weeks alone in the woods with only my wonderful husband as companion, absolutely no thought or need for further company and when it was over wish to just turn right around and go out for another 3 months? I don’t think so. However, I was raised with an absolute contempt for the concept of “needing other people” (having been raised in the church ‘all I need is Jesus’, combine that with only child independence and voila!) so perhaps my extravert tendencies have been conditioned out of me?

So you see the cycles I get myself into.

Who am I? Really, truely. Now. How much of an influence can life have on you before you become just another sheep in the herd? How do I sort out who I am in spite (or because?) of my environment.