I will always remember receiving my first typewriter. I was about 8 years old and I didn’t know how to type, but I loved that typewriter so I taught myself to type from my mom’s old secretarial books. This was a manual typewriter and I remember how much effort it took to strike the keys. Often, my pinky fingers were not strong enough to get the ‘A’ key to strike the paper hard enough to leave a mark. So almost everything I wrote didn’t have the letter ‘A’ appearing on the page. That didn’t matter to me though.
What I fell in love with was the sound and feel of typing. The sound a key made when it struck the paper sent a thrill up my fingers and up my spine. I remember thinking that if this is what it felt like to play a piano, it must be amazing.
When I was 12, they still had Typing as an elective class we could take. This was one of my favourite classes. The middle two rows of the room had manual typewriters and the outside rows had electric typewriters. As a class, we alternated turns between who used the manual and electric typewriters. The first time my fingers touched the electric typewriter, I think my heart literally expanded. Pressing down on the keys was so much easier and now I could type twice as fast. The keys on the electric typewriter made such a crisp, clean sound against the page. I remember having the thought that I was making music with words.
The gift of these typing experiences was that I began to fall in love with the act of writing. At that time, it didn’t matter what I wrote. Sometimes I would type up a page from one of my favourite books and pretend that I was the writer. Other times, I would simply type every thought that was flowing through my mind. Then there were times I would pour my heart out through the typewriter keys and then throw away the page. One day, I wrote a poem. I don’t know where it came from. I don’t remember what it was, but I remember that playing with the typewriter keys unlocked something in my heart and a poem was born.
To this day, typing on a keyboard is music to my ears. I love the feeling of being a musician with words. I love the act of creating with words and the sensation of my fingers forming letters into sentences, phrases, paragraphs and articles.
In every book that I have read about uncovering your life’s purpose, they always give the advice to go back and remember what you loved in childhood. The activities we loved to do when we were young hold clues to our purpose. My love was typing. My love was being a musician with words and the typewriter was my instrument. Today, I can look back and clearly see that this was the beginning of my path toward writing. My soul knew back when that first poem appeared that I wanted to allow words to dance their way through me and land in black and white on a crisp, clean page. The initial gift of that old manual typewriter was so much more than a mere typewriter. It was a key that first opened the door to reveal part of my life purpose.
Recently, my mom gifted me with an album she had created of pictures from my childhood. In one of the pictures, I saw the old typewriter sitting in the background and I couldn’t help but smile.
For Your Reflection:
What were some of your childhood interests? What did you love to play? What did you pretend to be? Can you see how those early interests have shaped who you are today?
Exploring questions like these can help you see the threads that make up the tapestry of your life’s purpose.