Not the busy, stressed, distracted You today.
The eight year old version of Yourself.
Remember when You would go to school and be excited to see Your friends? When You'd stop what You were doing if You saw some kid crying? When You'd give half your bologna sandwich to the kid whose milk made his too soggy to eat?
The You who drew pictures for your parents and teachers just because You were inspired to express Yourself and then share it with someone else.
The You who got so excited for Your best friend's birthday that passersby might've thought it was actually YOUR birthday instead.
The You who unashamedly said things like "Hey, I like your dog" and "Nice shot!" to complete strangers at the park.
That's the You I want you to remind you of.
I like to watch how kids just love each other. Little boys walking home from school, arms around each other's backpack heavy shoulders, excitedly bantering about the new superhero movie the want to see together. Little girls playing with each others hair while they sit in the shade and talk. Groups of kids laughing and screaming while running around in a game of freeze tag, welcoming any new kid just walking up to join in.
Remember that You?
The You who didn't really stop to wonder if someone would think You were weird or crazy if you said "Hi" or complimented their cool shoes?
Being kind is in your DNA. Life just gets in the way. We get busy and tired. People hurt us and show us the ugly, untrustworthy side of themselves. We stop watching Looney Tunes and start watching CNN. We stop flipping through a Choose Your Own Adventure book and pick up grocery store gossip magazines instead.
We start to believe that maybe the Housewives and Kardashians and Dance Moms actually do represent the rest of humanity and they're just honest enough to say what the rest of the world is secretly thinking.
But that is all a lie. YOU are still YOU. The kid who knew right from wrong, and even though You didn't always choose right, You felt bad about it and knew how to make it right again. You might've broken a few rules at home but you'd never break the friend code at school. You stood up for the underdog. You looked out for your little sister. You were kind.
You're still kind. That's what I want to remind You today and what I need You to remind me of sometimes, too. We're not perfect, we make mistakes, but deep down, that eight year old is still there.
It's who You are.