Rediscover Your Inner Child

When I was a child, my family migrated with the agricultural seasons and where my father could find work as a crop duster.  The frequent relocating took its toll on my grades and self-esteem, particularly after several schools labeled me a slow learner. I was able to handle the stress as a child because I was always “into” something. In elementary school and middle school, I collected Star Wars actions figures. I found such delight in saving my allowance to add another figure to my collection. Then, in junior high, I was into video games.  (The games I played back then seem prehistoric these days, but they were cutting edge at the time and I was enthralled with them). In high school, I was into martial arts and learning to play the guitar in hopes of becoming a rock star.  Although I had my share of angst as an adolescent and high school student, focusing on whatever I was “into” at the time helped me cope in life and take my mind off of any unpleasant things going on at the time. 

As I entered college, however, I was no longer into anything in particular besides planning for my career.  When I was not focused on my educational pursuits, I began focusing on what I felt was missing in my life.  As a result of my insecurities, my mind was filled with worry, doubt and fear.  That led to an eating disorder and overwhelming sense of hopelessness.  I found it difficult to keep going and, unfortunately, that went on for more than a decade.  I did not realize at the time that my negative focus was drawing more negativity into my life and making it next to impossible for my dreams to unfold.

That would all change in 2005, when I stumbled into a little rock shop and bought a fateful souvenir- a little dinosaur tooth- that would change my life forever.  My interest in that little fossil awakened my passion for paleontology and set me on a life-long quest for adventure.  In fact, after discovering my passion, I felt a childlike enthusiasm I had not felt in a very long time.

I think many adults have not taken the time to find their passion because they feel they are too busy.  With family obligations and work, that is certainly understandable.  Or perhaps they have forgotten the need for having a passion in the first place.  Once I discovered my love of paleontology, I realized that there is a power in having a passion (or that “thing” you are genuinely excited about) because it allows you to channel your inner “kid” that many people have let disappear or at least take a back seat in their lives.  It also creates a positive energy that draws positive people and opportunities to us.

From the moment I met Dean Lomax in 2008, we made an instant connection based completely on our shared love for fossils.  Although I was a lawyer from Florida and he was a teenager from England, our shared passion for paleontology broke through any barriers that might have otherwise existed on the basis of age or nationality.  It was as if I had known him for a lifetime. 

I was amazed to learn that Dean had also collected Star Wars action figures when he was young and, when he decided to pursue paleontology as a career, he sold his collection to finance his first trip to Wyoming.  As fate would have it, that was the first time Dean and I met. 

Dean’s childhood collection not only brought him joy during his youth, it financed the trip that launched his career.  Dean, who is now a multi-award-winning paleontologist and author, is now able to share his passion for fossils and prehistoric life with thousands of people through his books, lectures and television appearances.

If you haven’t felt a childlike enthusiasm for something in a long time, maybe it’s time for you to find your passion.  When you are genuinely excited about something that you share with others, your excitement and positivity will ensure you are drawing the best things possible into your life!