How to Embrace Your Inner Child and Find Your Joy After 60
What did you love to do as a child? Do you remember getting happily lost for hours, so immersed in a hobby or passion that you lost all track of time?
In childhood, we had the time and freedom to pursue our interests. We were open to joy and confident in our talents.
Visit a kindergarten class and children will easily tell you that they are good at art, great singers, fast runners or great builders. In childhood, we spent time doing things we loved. Whether we knew it or not, we were developing our sense of self.
As we grew into adulthood, our childish pursuits were often lost. We started to pay attention to messages from the universe that told us what we couldn’t do.
Perhaps we weren’t the fastest runner after all. We started to notice that other people were better artists. We became less confident in our talents. Eventually, work and responsibilities replaced carefree days of play.
Exploring Our Passionate Childhood Pursuits
Sadly, on the way to adulthood, many of us lose sight of some of the things we love, the things that fill our buckets and connect us to our true selves. We lose the joy that we found in our passionate childhood pursuits.
While cleaning out my parent’s home, I found some old pictures of myself. I had not seen these photos in years, if ever.
There was a picture of me with my first bicycle. I remembered that beautiful blue bike and the freedom I felt when I rode it around the block. I wanted to explore everything, and my bicycle was my ticket to adventure.
In another photo, I am sitting in front of the Christmas tree, proudly holding a typewriter. There is a small desk lamp sitting on the floor next to me. I looked at the photo with astonishment.
I don’t remember that typewriter or the desk lamp, but I know that I must have wanted those things above all else. Even as a child, I understood that Santa’s means were very limited and that I would likely get only the few things I most desired.
Children Can Sense the Needs of Your True Self
My 8-year-old self was wise to the joys and needs of my true self. I loved reading and writing. I stapled papers together into little booklets to write my own books. The library was my favorite place. I dreamed of someday having my own desk. I planned to be a writer when I grew up.
I realize now that I had a typewriter and a desk lamp before I had a desk. I am reminded of the movie Under the Tuscan Sun. In the movie, the main character, a writer, leaves her home in San Francisco and buys a run down old villa in Tuscany.
Afterwards, in frustration, she declares, “I bought a house for a life I don’t even have!” Eventually, her house is filled with family and friends, and she realizes that she finally has the life she wants.
Somewhere along the way, I forgot the passions of my childhood. I gave up writing for a serious job, a real job that would pay the bills and offer a retirement plan. With a full-time job and a busy family, traveling and adventures were also put on the back burner.
Time to Be a Grown-Up Version of Your Younger Self
Now, with more time and freedom, I have discovered my childhood passions once again. I eventually left my job as an educator to became a writer. I finally have my own desk, and it is one of my favorite places to be.
I am happiest sitting quietly with my books and my writing. I still love to go on adventures, though now I am inclined to go around the world instead of around the block.
I am delighted to find that at this stage of my life, I have become the grown-up version of that little girl. My 8-year-old self, with her desire for a typewriter and a desk lamp, understood what I needed to be happy. I only wish it hadn’t taken me so long to realize it.
What Were Your Childhood Passions?
As a child, did you love to be outside, climbing trees and playing in the park? Were you the competitive type, playing games and trying to beat your friends?
Perhaps you were an animal lover, finding and caring for wounded and abandoned animals. Maybe you loved to make things and enjoyed sharing your crafts with others.
Our childhood passions can impact our lives in significant ways. Perhaps they played a significant role in the career you pursued. Perhaps you never left your hobbies and continued to pursue them throughout your life.
On the other hand, maybe you had favorite pastimes that have been long forgotten. If so, your childhood interests are waiting in the wings for their time on stage. Is this the time to reconsider them?
Knowing the things that bring us true happiness and pleasure and spending time with those things is bound to increase the joy we feel in our lives. Our childhood selves understood what we needed to be happy. We can access that wisdom and use it to find fulfillment and contentment as an adult.
What were your childhood passions? Do your childhood interests no longer seem relevant or important to you? Are you content in knowing that you have found a place for the things you loved as a child in your adult life? I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments below.
Michele Meier Vosberg, Ph.D. is a writer and freelance educator. She left her career of over thirty years in order to create the life of her dreams. She is passionate about helping others understand their unique personality and gifts and design their best lives. Michele is married, has two grown daughters and lives in Madison, Wisconsin. Connect with Michele at liferedesign101.com