Yesterday, I received the cover illustration to my children’s book. I have to say, it was quite a thrilling moment, and it was great to finally share this project with some of my friends and relatives, many of whom were unaware of this new task that I’ve taken on outside of my law practice. To be honest, it is something my son asked me to do a while back because he wanted me to share the story about finding my family with children. I decided to take on this project to teach him that when you have a cool idea, you need to see it through the various phases until it is finished. Of course, because this is way outside my area of expertise, it has taken me quite a while to identify a co-author/editor, illustrator, etc. After outlining the storyline, I had to go through all my albums– four decades worth of photos– in order to map out my life’s story in pictures. To see it all now come together, I must admit, is pretty awesome.
The little gymnast that traveled the world in search of every award possible has finally grown up. All those trophies, medals and certificates are actually in storage now, but what you see prominently displayed in my home are the pictures of all my family members–these are the people I needed to find and make peace with in order to fill the void in my heart. To forgive all past transgressions and find redemption in the eyes of both my makers, that was the ultimate test I had to pass. As I connect the dots now, I can see exactly how this hard-learned lesson played itself out over the past four decades, and I believe it is an important one to share with others who may get so distracted by the shiny prizes that the rat race has to offer that they may lose sight of what really matters in life.
Mapping out the last 30 years, from where my original gifts and personality started to become quite evident to where I am now has been a great exercise, and one that I would encourage all my peers to go through– even if you never intend to go that extra step of making it a story you share openly with the public. It is a worthwhile exercise for any of us hitting the “mid-life” point in our journey to connect with our past, see where we are now, and then question where we want to head in the future. While the past does not define us, it does give us great clues about our true self– and bringing back to life those purest parts of our own inner child might just be the key to success going forward.
So maybe this Memorial Day weekend, as we remember fondly those who fought for our country, we can also take a moment to remember ourselves and work on that connect the dots project. If you don’t like the picture you see, envision a larger canvas and start forming new dots. You can change the final image with just a litte imagination and a tremendous amount of courage. Finding the courage– that is really key.