Continuity – lessons from my 10-year old self

27 Jul

This article is part of the series “31 blogs in 31 days” during July 2017 on

While I am currently travelling to my hometown to spend a few days with my mum, I keep thinking of a quote that I have known for a while and that has re-visited me at least three time in totally different contexts during the last 10 days. This one was a tweet by Alain de Botton from 24 July:

The most satisfying adult careers have a habit of drawing on enthusiasms and character traits already present in us aged 10.”

I’d say that’s pretty spot on for me. Thinking about myself at that age, I would agree that I have not changed that much. Much of what made me happy back then continues to put a smile and a laugh on my face today, much of what filled me with horror and fear still holds that very same power over me. I was already pretty confident, already a “generalist” with many ok-level talents across a wide range of physical and creative hobbies, I loved talking and making others laugh, in group settings I was often a leader (I was definitely a lot bossier then compared to now) and I got pretty impatient when people weren’t doing as I wanted them to, I loved being on stage, I loved spending time by myself writing and reading and balancing that with spending time with friends and family, I never really broke any rules, I loved coming home after a vacation, I had a very strong interest in languages and words and I could easily remember pages on end by heart, people’s opinions mattered a lot to me, I was not at all fussed about getting bad grades for something I was not interested in, I could be very happy for other people’s successes and the future was exciting.

I recently drew up a list of things, character traits, values, environments, activities etc. that are important to me, in order to find something new, something that I may have ignored in my current professional re-shuffle – and it struck me just how similar that list was to what I would have penned down (if I had had that perspective) at age 10. I have been pretty consistent with myself. Knowing that I had many of my idiosyncrasies already 26 years ago actually is a calming thought. Certain things really seem to be hardwired into my core and it would be extremely hard, if at all possible, to re-programme them. So why bother? Looking at the quality and the continuity of the overall spectrum of my skills and values, I don’t actually want to change much. Of course I still drive myself and others crazy, but hey, at least I am driving everybody crazy with the same old stuff! Just get used to it!

10 year-old Fabienne wouldn’t have the faintest idea of “management” and “leadership” when dressed up in business lingo (same goes for 20 year old Fabienne actually), but after putting my professional life and development into kids- / Fabienne-friendly language, I think she would give me the thumbs up. She would be happy to see me living such an international lifestyle, being in charge, working with interesting people, making sure things are being done properly, bouncing around on stage every now and then, making people laugh, care and understand…and most definitely, writing this blog. I was 10 when I started writing a diary, poems and plays. Writing has always been a great facilitator of my thinking, it has calmed me down and got me excited. It’s been a constant life companion. My biographers will have a very easy job. And yes, 10-year old Fabienne would be totally cool with fame and fortune.

So was there anything I did or enjoyed at the age of 10 that I have not catered for in a while? I am sure I will have the answer for that when I return to Berlin in 6 days time.

Picture: Pixabay CC0


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