Well, today I packed up the first two boxes of household goods in my preparation to move to a new location in the next few months. In the process, my mind took a deep dive, contemplating my life and considering the drastic changes I am setting in motion – which in turn, brought forth memories of my childhood years – whether I liked it or not.
I don’t know about you, but it seems memories from childhood are never very far from my thoughts. In fact, the older I get the more these ancient memories pop up. Interestingly, they are usually the things I either don’t want to remember or the things I wish I could change.
It is amazing how those early years of existence stick with us, whether we realize it or not. Some people do not have strong, detailed, memories of childhood – but psychologists say that most of who we are as adults can be contributed to our childhood. In fact, I read that certain habits and character traits become set in stone by the age of fourteen. Sadly, psychologists also say that our psychological problems as adults originate from childhood.
If you’re a parent – you probably just cringed.
Fortunately, my childhood was not terrible. I was an only child, which is not as glamorous as it sounds. My parents needed a compact family since we moved to a new military base every one to three years. I was it. I was the perfect kid.
I was such a well trained child that I became like a doll, a silent oberserver, a pretty charm dangling from my mother’s hand. I was classically the child who was “seen, not heard”. I spent the first five years of my life in nearly complete isolation, playing with toys in my bedroom – just me and my imagination.
It was by no means a bad childhood, but my early experiences sealed the deal on my introverted personality. I was not destined to become a vivacious, people person of any sort of popularity once I began attending indoctrination institutes – school.
I was knocked right off my rocking pony of solitude the day my mother told me I was to spend the majority of my conscious hours with twenty-five noisy, obnoxious kids. Not my cup of coffee — thank you very much! (Yes, coffee at age five). I was completely unprepared.
Luckily, even introverts can find a nich among the herd. As a well trained observer of people and situations, I quickly learned to identify my tribe, which was always small, and yet, just right.
The worst and best part of my childhood were the constant moves to new locations. If I didn’t like how things were working out for me in one place, I could simply bide my time until the next move, a new start. Of course, I had to go through the pain of digging out my nich again and identifying another tribe of similar souls, but it became a system of sorts.
This picking up and moving became a rhythm in my life that I became reliant upon. But once I became an adult the moves ended. I had to learn to stay where I am and cope with situations I didn’t like, on the long term. No escape.
Often my INFJ personality has gotten in the way of the relations and lifestyle I envy of others. But I am who I am, and small tribes have always suited me just fine in the end. My life has been pretty good overall and the battle scars concealable, for the most part.
So, as I pack up my house and prepare to move over the next several months, I am filled with unexpected nervousness about this new start. I have lived where I am for decades now and have apparently managed to flush the vagabond mindset from my psyche over these years. I will need to remember how to carve a new nich and find a tribe of similars to mingle with once again.
One thing we can always count on is change. One thing we must learn to do is make the best of change.