A Child’s View of the World
How quickly time flies. One minute you are barefoot, chasing fireflies, and laughing with joy, and the next you are too busy to even look out the window, let alone go outside. When we are kids we look forward to adulthood as if it is the most amazing birthday or Christmas present that we could ever ask for, but when we finally reach it we often look back and wonder why we were so eager for the years to fly by.
I don’t think we actually hate being adults. I believe the reason for the melancholia is because we believed, thanks to society, that once we became adults, we had to leave all the wonder, joy, and fascination with life behind. This couldn’t be further from the truth! If anything, I think we need that childlike optimism and faith even more as adults when the stress and expectations of life have settled on our shoulders.
So how can we revive that joy? Grab a basket, we’re going on an egg hunt for our childhood joy.
Step One: Take a Trip Down Memory Lane
When we are kids, we spend our days thinking and fantasizing about our futures: what kind of house we will live in, the cars we will drive, the jobs we will have, and maybe even the wedding of our dreams. As adults looking to rediscover a sense of excitement and joy, we need to do the same but in reverse. Think back to your happiest moments growing up, and let those memories fill you with happiness and a sense of contentment.
Step Two: Meditate on a Memory that Made You Feel Alive
Now that you have a few memories that stand out for you, select one that really seems to resonate with you. Stay in that moment and let it completely overwhelm you. What aspects seem to call out to you the most? Is it a place? A person? An activity? Whatever it is, something is once again calling out to you. Now is the time not only to hear it but to act on it.
Step Three: Visit a Place that Filled You with Wonder
Most of us have places that hold a special meaning in our hearts, but when adult responsibility steps into our lives the time we have to go and enjoy those places starts to disappear. Taking the time to revisit these important places through memories can help us to reawaken the sense of happiness, joy, and wonder that we once felt. True, some of those places may be gone, but the memories can still be revived with a bit of help from our imaginations and the energy that remains. Look at old photos you have, or watch home videos with your loved ones to reawaken those memories, and feel the joy well up in you.
Step Four: What was an Activity that Filled You with Joy? Start Doing it Again
What activities filled you with a sense of purpose or mirth? Maybe you can start them again. We might not be physically able to do some hobbies or activities that we once enjoyed (there is no way I could ever ice skate again, my knees would hate me!) but we should have multiple options when it comes to finding hobbies that we really enjoyed. So, get out there and grab a microphone at karaoke, go trail riding, or find some like-minded friends and start a volleyball or basketball game night.
Step Five: Get Your Creative Juices Flowing
Perhaps your bliss is found in art and creativity, and even if it wasn’t in your past there is no reason why you can’t start now. Children are always creating! My mum still has a rock that I glued acorns, snail shells, a plastic cap, and some moss on. I was definitely not a Picasso! Why do we stop utilizing this artistic outlet? We know that creativity helps heal, this is one reason why so many treatment methods for various conditions include an art-based therapy. Even dabbling in the crafts you did as a child, like macaroni art or finger painting can help heal your soul a little. You may not ever create something worthy of a gallery show, but the process of creating and expressing your individuality can easily jump start our ability to see artistic possibilities everywhere we look.
Step Six: Step Out of Line a Little
Growing up we were always questioning the reasons behind why we had to do things. Then we get older and simply accept what we are told and toe the line. Why did we stop asking questions? There are no written rules declaring that just because you have several dozen candles on your birthday cake, you can’t break out of the paradigm that people expect of you. Rebel a little, like a haughty teen and see if getting those fires stirred up doesn’t also make you laugh a bit.
Step Seven: Recognize the Magic in the Ordinary.
To me this may be the most important step. An adult might only see a wooden picnic table, but a child can see a pirate’s ship, an island, a cave, or a mountain! The ordinary is anything but ordinary when you can see beyond the mundane. Look at things around you and allow your imagination to show you that although you may need to live a practical life, you never have to give up a fantastical approach to living. Build a pillow fort or a camp site in your living room, or just let your imagination run wild, and let the sunshine back in!
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