nicole bensen

Goodbye, childhood home

I spent most of last week helping my parents clear out my childhood home. I went through boxes of what used to be my prized possessions, and threw away high school photos, an old cheerleading outfit, and even some old love letters.

The pictures of people who were my closest friends then, stir up no emotion now.

Here’s a photo of me in my childhood bedroom last week. Yes, I sponge-painted these walls and picked out that border at Home Depot myself. No, this is nothing I would ever pick out today. (I hadn’t yet learned the design rule of thirds, among other things. #embarrassedyetnostalgic)

Photo of me in my childhood bedroom.

In this ~7-minute TED Talk, Psychologist Dan Gilbert talks about “The End of History Illusion,” and describes an experiment that found people vastly underestimate how much change they will experience over ten years.

We tend to think who we are today is who we’ll always be, but if you look back at your life ten years ago, it’s likely a lot has changed.

In my case, I don’t own a pair of jeans right now, but I just borrowed some from Rent the Runway in anticipation of my trip to New York next week. I put them on and instantly felt trapped and uncomfortable. I thought maybe I just needed to give them some time to mold to me, so I did a few squats and wore them all day (see the photo above in said jeans).

Well, nothing changed.

As I was peeling them off that night I told my husband I never wanted to wear a pair of jeans again.

But, here’s the interesting thing: I got married in jeans.

On what is arguably one of the most important days of my life, where there would be a paid photographer documenting the day, I chose to wear jeans! So clearly I was pretty fond of them 13+ years ago. (Today, you can find me at the grocery store on a random Tuesday afternoon wearing a floor-length velvet gown. Really.)

Dan Gilbert goes on to say we find it hard to imagine who we’re going to be. And then we think because it’s hard to imagine, it’s not likely to happen.

“human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished.”

What do you think you’ll still be doing, wearing, and eating in 10 years?

Any cringeworthy moments still hiding in boxes for you too?

Oh, and here’s a marriage day photo:

Picture of my husband and I on the day we got married.

If you like learning about yourself and your wellbeing with research like this, join the waiting list to be the first to know when doors open again to my on-demand, wellbeing program, Next Level You.

Cheering for you and your happiness.


P.S. Did you miss last week’s note about Switzerland, YouTube, and Colorado? Catch up here.

Link to last week's blog.

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