Do you ever stare at your reflection for a long while in search of the eight-year-old you?

I do. I do this often.
I have changed quite significantly since eight years old. Makeup, of course, does wonderful things. I no longer have a unibrow. My freckles, although still prominent, have faded a bit, melted into my skin like a worn-in painting. My once washed out sandy-blonde hair is now colored hues of bright blonde. I’ve lost some baby chub from my cheeks. (Although, quite frankly, I haven’t lost it all.)
Even so, sometimes, I miss her.
There are parts of me that I don’t care to go back and see, chapters in my life that I have no desire to relive. Fifteen year old me, for example. Fifteen year old me was such a tragedy! This is the year I shaved my brows, and much too short. I was going on three years of braces and I exhibited short and frizzy unkempt hair. Physically I was a tragedy and emotionally I was a wreck, wading through the torrents of my parent’s second divorce. It was an awful year that I am glad to be rid of forever!
But eight years old was something else entirely. 1992! I loved 1992. I could do 1992 all over again.
When I was eight I was a hippie animal lover. I would tear pictures of animals from my grandparent’s national geographic collection and use scotch tape to hang them in my bedroom. All four of my bedroom walls were covered from top to bottom in pictures of animals. I rarely combed my hair, and I far preferred jeans and t-shirts to dresses and skirts. I watched power rangers with my brothers every morning before school.
When I was eight I had an intense creative imagination and I was an expert daydreamer. I spent my days with my two best friends, a pair of sisters who lived up the canyon from us. From sun up until sun down we would roam the hillside of upper canyon road. We built forts and climbed trees. We pretended we were Indians. We found paths on the hillside that connected so that we could hike for miles, fighting off the pretend giant snakes that we imagined to be slithering through the dense hedges of the rough horsetail snake grass, picking berries and rhubarb for our pretend pies, crossing the slow shallow spots in the river while pretending it was treacherous and life threatening to do. We would ride our bikes everywhere, all the way to the candy store on the corner of main street where we would spend our allowance filling brown paper sacks with penny candies. We didn’t much care yet what boys thought of us or what shade of lipstick we might like. We were outdoor adventure seeker hippie girls who loved life and watched it love us back.
Somewhere throughout the next decade or more I lost that girl. I think that it was somewhere after my braces came off, when I decided that I liked to impress the boys. I flew on new wings and found that being social was the life for me. And I’m glad for that! Really, I am. I’m so very glad that I played hard and had so much fun while I was young and free.
But now!
Now I am 31 years old. Can you believe that? And only now am I starting to really plant myself into the dreams and concepts that matter most. The dust has cleared around me, settled softly into the trail I have been running for the past twenty years. I am constantly nostalgic and reflective, slowing down and continually living in daily reminders of what it is that makes me most happy and what it is that really matters.
And it is when I reflect on who I was at eight years old that I realize: that girl was the real me. That girl knew what was up.
Perhaps that is why I look back to the 90’s so fondly. Disposable cameras, polly pockets, cassette tape players, fruit stripe gum. Playing The Oregon Trail on the computer and heads up, seven up in school. Enjoying my digital gigi pet that I got for Christmas while munching on a big bowl of French Toast Crunch cereal. Reading Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark with my brothers. Heading straight for the shelf that held her Russian Nesting Doll whenever we got to Grandma’s house. Calling out on a rotary dialed phone. Falling asleep beneath a ceiling full of glow in the dark stars.

Let's bring them back! The good stuff! These are the things that remind me of her, the eight year old girl that I love. The feeling of nostalgia from these childhood bits and pieces gives me the same feeling as smelling a fresh baked pie cooling in the windowsill on a cool summer afternoon. My world these days has quieted just enough that I can immerse myself in that era and really appreciate the classic things that helped make life so simple and so wonderful. With garage sales and auction sites you can bring this childhood nostalgia back. Invaluable has a great collectibles section that auctions off a variety of merchandise that people once cherished in their youth.

**This post was a collaboration with Invaluable, the world’s leading online marketplace for fine art, antiques and collectibles to help in connecting people with the things they love.


  1. If there was an age that was a tragedy for me it's around 12. I stopped playing like I had before and would spend recesses in the bathroom with my friends ... looking at our hair and talking. We did so much talking! While I am so thankful for those friends and many memories with them, I hope when I have kids and they get to be around 12 that they won't waste so much time and words on how to be cool and gossip. I hope they will continue to play. I'm so glad I grew out of that stage in my life! Eight-year-old me and high school me was pretty good too. :)

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