Someone asked me this the other day and I'm surprised at how much this question has stuck with me. I honestly don't know if my 5-year old self would be proud of who I am today or not.
I know the deeper meaning behind this question, the question that this person was really asking. It was do you still hold joy and awe with life like you did when you were an innocent 5-year old?
The trouble is, I've never been innocent. I didn't have what anyone would call a normal or healthy childhood and was forced by circumstances beyond my control to grow up very quickly. I knew things most adults didn't understand by the time I was 8.
I'd like to think that childhood me would be proud of who I was today, after all, I'm still alive. There was a point where I didn't think I'd achieve even that. There are few things I'll let myself remember about being five. One was that I absolutely wanted more than anything to have a cat. I now have 8. Another was that I wanted to be a Veterinarian and keep all the dogs and cats healthy. I'm allergic to animals and can't handle being around that much allergen in a day. I wanted more than anything to have a family, to know what it was like to have both parents together who loved and cherished their daughter more than anything else in the universe. I wanted more than anything at that age, to be a mother when I grew up. I'm married and have 8 cats. I will not have children. This still pains a small portion of my heart, but it's not something I can change. I've learned to love my cats as children and be a good aunt to my nieces.
I work hard at overcoming the pain and insecurities in my soul. My husband tries to be very understanding and he succeeds more often than not. I believe it's my cats who help me to learn and cherish innocence. Their joy and excitement at simply being able to roll around in the dirt in the backyard helps to remind me that life isn't full of stressors and pain. There's joy in the little things life has to offer.
While I wasn't the joyful, innocent, carefree child at age 5, I believe I've learned how to see aspects of life that way.
So, yes. I believe my 5-year old self would be proud of me. Would yours?