At the age of 17, who were you?
There are some theorists who believe you are the absolute closest to your true self at the age of 17. This is believed to be the age where you are most in tune with what makes you happy, whether you choose to act upon it or not.
After the age of 17, it’s believed you become a lot more influenced by what others want for you rather than what you want for yourself.
When I learned this, I started to think about who I was when I was 17. I was in grade 12 in High School in Calgary, Alberta and had a fun group of friends. I had a job at the mall and I liked boys from other schools. J I remember being in the library one day and flipping through an old issue of a travel magazine. I stumbled across an article that spoke about how you could ski and snowboard on a glacier in Whistler, BC in the summer. I couldn’t think of anything that would be cooler than that. That very night I had a conversation with my parents and they gave me permission to follow my growing adventure-seeking tendencies and move to Whistler right after graduation. Thank you Mom & Dad!
This was a memorable and defining lesson in speaking up for what I truly want, rather than editing myself for what others may want for me. I was introduced to that feeling of wholeness where the life I desired on the inside started matching my life on the outside.
This week I’ve been re-visiting memory lane because I’m in Vancouver and from my hotel room, I can see the bridge leading out to Highway 99. Gosh, how many times did I cross that all those years ago when we used to do day trips into Vancouver?! I have such good memories of Whistler and all the adventures I had meeting others who were drawn to this unique summer-skiing playground.
This week, I started thinking how easy it was to create joy back then and it wasn't even a conscious effort
This week, I started thinking how easy it was to create joy back then and it wasn’t even a conscious effort, I just seemed to pack my days with activities and people I liked!
This universal recipe for joy hasn’t changed much but perhaps as we get older, we think it is something more complicated. Perhaps it can sometimes be a matter of simply re-connecting with how you made your choices at 17 and what influences or influencers you paid attention to.
This brings me to a coaching exercise I encourage you to take on this week:
Find a time to reconnect with your 17 year old self.
Write down what made you happy and why. Write down as much as you can remember about making decisions and the activities/people you felt naturally drawn to. Don’t filter yourself and don’t share your list with others (this is only because they might edit it or cause you to second guess yourself.) Reflect upon this list throughout the week. To deepen this experience, you may even want to dig up a photo from that year and attach it to your list.
I would love to hear how this exercise affected you. Please leave a comment below or email me directly.
To your authenticity,