Can a Happy Childhood Be the Key to a Better Life in the Present?
“It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.” — Tom Robbins
When I first heard this quote, it made me smile. What was your first thought as you read those words? The more I researched this, the more I realized that Tom Robbins’ words were causing confusion.
Some of us have had a childhood we try to forget, and this quote may put you in that negative memory mindset. For the record, Robbins is not saying go back and make your childhood happy. That’s impossible. Our past is what it is.
It’s not saying that your childhood can be fixed, erased, or made better. It’s simply saying that now is not too late to enjoy some childlike events or happenings.
Give This a Try
I’d like you to try this. For a moment, remember. Remember the dreams you had as a child. Remember what you wished for, or wanted to do that you couldn’t, for whatever reason. What did you do as a child that you loved?
As an adult, what is fun, exciting and interesting that you could try now? Can any of those childhood dreams be fulfilled now that you’re a grown up?
These childhood activities don’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as allowing yourself to fly a kite or lay on the grass to watch the cloud formations. I kind of like the idea of stepping off the adult life wheel now and then to fulfill some childlike dreams.
Grandchildren can help with this. If you’re blessed to have one or more, you know that reading to them while watching their childlike wonder is so much fun. Try taking them for an event they love, or simply play with them, and you will see the world through a fresh childlike perspective.
Coloring is making a comeback now for adults. Why would coloring books be printed for adults to enjoy? When my granddaughter was small, I loved coloring alongside her. That’s because, I loved coloring when I was her age!
When we colored together, it gave me an excuse to do what I had loved when I was a little girl. Here’s another reason that justifies a coloring habit. Forbes magazine scientists report that coloring reduces anxiety and improves mindfulness.
Turns out, there are actually health benefits to coloring. Coloring has the ability to relax the fear center of our brain, the amygdala. It induces the same state as meditating by reducing the thoughts of a restless mind.
This generates mindfulness and quietness, which allows your mind to get some rest after a long day. I worked in a big corporation, and when coloring for adults hit its peak, they distributed coloring books and colored pencils to us at work. (For our free time I’m assuming!)
Think about this for a minute. If coloring relaxes the fear center of the brain, don’t we all need that right now? There’s so much challenging us in the world every day. Why not try to calm the fear down by coloring?
Studies also have found that drawing, sculpting and collage reduce the damaging impact of stress on the body and mind. This includes doodling!
Recently I tried a paint by number painting. It had the same calming effect as putting a puzzle together. I think I’m on to something. Finding childlike fun in these activities gave me a relaxation boost.
My four-year-old grandson loves to laugh. He is serious about learning the moves to dance like Michael Jackson, which makes us chuckle. Most of the time though, he laughs so freely that his infectious laugh brings us right along with him.
The benefits of laughter can foster empathy, compassion, trust and intimacy with others. There’s nothing like sharing a good joke with someone. Next time something strikes you as funny, go ahead, throw-back your head and enjoy a good belly laugh over it! Then share it with friends.
When No One Is Watching
Have you ever danced when no one was watching? That’s when it doesn’t have to be cool, or look good, but you just let the music take you and move. Watch a toddler when you crank up the music. They love to move!
When we were young, we used to try to get our mom to dance around the kitchen. She loved music, and now and then, she would get into the song on the radio so much, she would put down her dish cloth and dance a bit. It was one of the times we remember that she let herself be childlike and happy.
A video worth watching is Jon Batiste in his song Freedom. What I like about this is that he just dances how the music moves him. It doesn’t seem choreographed at all (although it may have been?). Let it inspire you to dance a bit when no one is watching.
Outlet for a Childlike Wish
I talked with my sister-in-law, Marge, about what she wished she could have done as a child and has started doing now. She had just gone to the craft store to stock up on some supplies.
Marge’s mom wasn’t crafty, but Marge was, without much of an outlet for crafts growing up. She recently got inspired to paint stencils on dishtowels and is inviting a friend over to play along.
Play can stimulate your imagination, helping you adapt and solve problems. Have you forgotten how to play? Does it seem too silly to dance around your living room to your favorite song, or play a game on-line, do a craft, or something bigger that falls into the category of play or fun for you?
Funny Ending to an Adventure
I was one of three girls in my family. Many years ago, my sister wanted us to go on a hot air balloon ride when we vacationed together in Arizona. We had to get up terribly early to start the adventure at sunrise. After the balloon was inflated and the passengers were boarded, up we went.
How surreal it was to float over the homes and landscapes of Arizona. The plan was to land and have brunch somewhere in the desert about halfway through the flight. The landing was less than stellar. I guess we were lucky enough (?) to have a new pilot.
Several times we came close to the ground thinking we would land, then up again for miles. When we eventually landed, the whole basket bumped along the Arizona desert floor for a bit, then stopped and turned over on its side. We ended up perpendicular to the earth and deboarded by crawling out of the basket! That childlike adventure has given us a lot to laugh about and great memories.
Need Some Ideas?
If you’re looking for more ways to enjoy a happy childhood now, click here for 40 ideas to experience childlike playfulness as adults. I encourage you that it’s never too late to have a happy childhood.
Please share a wish you had as a child and would like to do now or are doing now. Sharing will encourage others to do the same. What have you tried? What would you like to try? Do you have a hard time remembering a wish you had when you were little?