The first ever “self-help” book I recall reading was called “How to tidy your room”. It was a set of two tiny hard cover books that sat inconspicuously on the big adult bookshelf. I’d pull them out from time to time to flip through them, in awe of the details, instructions and pictures, yet not quite ready to fully take in all of what they meant.
Years would pass by until I felt truly “ready”. As if a few years of “growing up” proved I was ready for the passage of following through on all the instructions.
I got my own bedroom when I was about 11 years old. It was a tiny little under the stairs laundry-turned bedroom that my parents secretly converted for me while I was away on school camp.
I was ecstatic. I’d spend hours in my room, flipping through my books, rearranging the contents of my tall 12-drawed chest of drawers that came with the room upgrade. I’d slide open the stiff white painted over in built cupboard that ran the length of the room, likely originally intentioned for laundry powders and ironing sprays. I loved every inch of that room. And found endless ways to add more of my personality to it.
When we moved neighbourhood I must have been at school when my mum checked out the place. I got the verbal run down of what to expect. I distinctly recall her describing each of the bedrooms, where they were positioned in the house and what way they faced. I “bagsed” the end room immediately. Are you sure, she said? You haven’t even seen it? But I had. In my mind and heart it had already called to me. We did a “drive by” before the actual move and I pointed to the window, that’s it right? Yes she said. I knew.
I’m still not sure to this day how and why my sister didn’t even seem to put up a “fight” for the room.
By the time I’d moved in and the books had all been transferred to their newest position in our now “study” – I was ready.
Ready to take on “How to clean your room” officially.
My sisters giggle at me when I tell them I loved this book. My mum oddly enough shrugs as if it is a pretty normal thing for me to say.
There were plenty of other books glistening from that shelf and from time to time I would pick them up and flick through them. Fascinated by the promises of big changes, courageous steps and always always filled with dreams and visions of how impactful, successful and joyful my life could be if I chose it to be.
It has to be at least part of the reason why still to this day I believe in big dreams. I’ve been called an “idealist” and couldn’t imagine being any other way. (Why would you want to?).
Most of what I’ve dreamt up and envisioned I’ve brought to life in some way – from wanting to volunteer in Africa, to vowing to not miss another grandparent’s passing without being there to say hello (and goodbye), to living in the city I dreamt of living in since I knew it existed.
I’ve dreamt up somewhat smaller things too – like having a local coffee shop I can walk to every day (so much gratitude for this one!), to having my own little desk space in our flat, to wanting my old Kenwood mixer my mum handed down to me to start working again (it didn’t, but I did magically find an almost identical one that was being given away in my neighbourhood).
All this to say – if there’s something even remotely “uncool” that you just love, please rock it! There’s a big reason why it feels so good to you.
Me loving that little hardcovered book that was technically intentioned for adults, not a kid, felt so inspiring to me! To this day I still use some of the tips it taught me.
What feels good leads you to your dreams. Own it. Don’t question it. Follow the scent, because it could just give you exactly what you’ve always wanted.