What kinds of things did you love to do when you were a kid? I've been toying with this idea that the things we loved to do in our youth, our innocence - have a tendency to show back up and spark a little (or a lot) of joy in our adulthood. I was the kid who would charge you 10 cents interest if you paid me back my dollar late. I LOVED working in my Pops Karate school and filling out forms like a little business woman. I was random; I danced, played basketball, tennis, ran track, was a girl scout, learned arabic, and even had a couple weeks of a rap career streak that was short lived when my mom found my lyrics. Yikes. But, what's really been hitting me lately is that I used to play the violin.

I played the violin FOR YEARS.. I was actually a first chair violinist. I even did strolling strings where I would dress up and walk around fancy places playing my violin for rich folks.. Yes, little Mandie hauled around her violin, had private lessons, would BEG to go to the store to find a new book and teach myself the songs (especially disney/pop songs) - I totally nerded out on that little instrument.

I never listen to the radio and About a week ago I stumbled across this station 101.1 in Dallas.. the classical station. My radio hasn't changed since.. I've been hearing so many songs that me and my brother (@thebrothanewz) played over the years as orch dorks/orchestra nerds. But, as nostalgic as it is and as happy as it makes me.. it's also caused me some momentary sadness.

I was a first chair violinist, and at some point, I got "too cool" to play in the orchestra. I wanted to run the streets with my friends and started to get caught up in the wrong things. I ended up letting go of something I loved and something I was actually really good at for the acceptance of my peers and to do a bunch of stuff I had no business doing. What an idiot. Right? (Lol)

Had I stayed in the orchestra I could have received a scholarship for college or had an opportunity to showcase my talent in some really dope spaces.. but, I've learned something in my older years... EVERYTHING happens for a reason.

Am I saddened that I betrayed my art for shenanigans? Absolutely. But, I also understand that I wouldn't be who I am today without the decisions that I've made since I walked out the doors of the orchestra room.

Had I continued to play the violin, would I have pledged AKA & missed the necessary lessons I gained from my Sorority?

Had I continued to play the violin, would I still have my tribe of AMAZING friends?

Had I continued to play the violin, would I have majored in business and joined my awesome B-Frat? #DeltaSigmaPiTilTheDayIDie

Had I continued to play the violin, would I be living in Dallas creating a life that I absolutely LOVE?

We can spend our whole life wondering "what if?", or, we can accept what is and acknowledge the difference it has made in our lives. Some of you may be going through a rough period right now, and you're probably sitting wondering what good could come of this? Rest, knowing that if you're reading this post, you have survived 100% of the adversities life has thrown at you. You will be stronger and better prepared for lifes next battle. As a stress management teacher, I always tell my clients, "I can't make your stress go away, it's necessary, and you need it for survival - but, I can help you to become more resilient to life's changes."

That's exactly what switching to a mindset of embracing change will do for you.. At some point, you have to realize that the only thing constant is change. People leave jobs, get divorced, lose friends, quit orchestra, move away, get elected, break up, get ill, make poor decisions - it's a part of life. Forgive yourself for your shortcomings and use what you got to create the best life possible. The quicker you can embrace life as is, the easier it becomes to accept change and move on.

So 2 things:

1. When you love something, and it loves you back, it's always with you.

I see my love for classical/symphonic music show up in other areas of my life like my extreme distaste towards music with lyrics that lack substance lol or my tendency to burn the midnight oil listening to classical music or instrumentals while working. Or.. critiquing random violinist and knowing "if she would just drop her wrist she could get a better range of motion for notes", or “that bow needs rosin”, or “dang that shoulder rest is bomb... what brand is it?"

I find soooo much peace in music, I don't even think I can put it into words really. If it has lyrics, I've always loved picking them apart and using them to get me through. If it doesn't have lyrics, I zone out and easily tap into my creativity while manifesting some of my greatest ideas.

My brother, David, loved playing ninjas when we were little and now he's on the US Karate Team. #YouDontWantNoProblems ... He also is the one who introduced me to hip-hop and just dropped a dope album. You can check that out here...

I have a friend, Rwenshaun of Eustress, who loved to draw as a kid - now, he finds so much solace in coloring as a grown man.

My girl Cortney loves fitness and helping others feel good about themselves and just landed an opportunity to live a life she loves while helping others.

...Revisit what you loved, there’s probably something there - waiting for you...


2. Life is a series of choices. Some of our choices we'll love, and some will leave us saying "What The!?" - but they make you who you are. Beautifully flawed. Perfect.

There are no mistakes. Everything in life serves as a purpose. Slow down, pay attention, and figure out what life is trying to teach you. ALWAYS, find the good.

S/N: Check out the book The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Alborn - a great book on perspective and connecting the dots in life.

#MindfulMoment: What is it that you loved to do as a kid? Consider trying it now and see what that brings up for you.