My therapist asked me to think of a happy memory from my childhood. I remembered back to when I was five years old. I only have about four memories from before the age of six and this is one of them. My mom and I lived in this townhouse complex in the northeast end of Calgary. I couldn’t tell you where it was exactly but I remember that much. The beige townhouses were grouped in sections. It was one of those neighbourhoods where you’d drive into the complex and there’d be a set of parking spots in front of each section of homes.
It was a warm and sunny day. I feel like it might’ve been June as there’s a certain colour of blue the sky becomes in that late spring and early summer. There’s a softness in the green grass that is comfortable to run barefoot in. A springiness to the soil underneath. A slight warmth to the concrete patio stones leading to each townhome.
I recall there was one unit, at the end of a set of units, that was sitting empty. The previous tenants had probably recently moved out and new ones would show up soon but at that moment, it was empty. Maybe six to ten of us kids, the oldest of which was probably seven, were running around this unit from the backyard to the front and back again, screaming as kids do, making up stories of seeing ghosts inside the dimly lit house, pretending to be scared and off we’d go running and screaming some more.
I didn’t know most of the other kids and yet, we laughed and played together, creating connection, being creative in our story telling.
My therapist then asked me what I was telling myself in recalling this memory. I felt creativity, inclusion, and acceptance. And in doing so, I made the connection to a career built on those same things.
I am grateful to have had a career built on being creative. Had I become an accountant as I had considered becoming during high school, who knows how things would’ve turned out.