Rediscovering the Kid Inside: Finding Joy Again

Post by Sharon

There's a difference between being childish (like having a tantrum at the checkout stand because you want a candy bar) and being childlike (taking wonder in the world and testing what you are capable of). 

The funny thing about being a kid was the capacity for joy. Let's find that again. 

In a quest to find yourself (a key step to satisfaction in latter years), you have to go back to some basics. I'll help run you through some things to consider when looking for the "real" you.

Try considering these following things from the perspective of when you were a kid in grade school. 

In a shy versus outgoing category I was - 
In a leader versus follower category I was - 
In a joiner versus loner category I was - 
In a books versus sports category I was - 
In a stay at home versus go where the action is category I was - 
In a creative versus practical category I was - 
In a my family ignored me versus my family was overprotective category mine was - 
In a dreamer versus doer category I was - 
In a laughter versus tears category I was - 
In the Arts versus math category I was - 
In the I took after dad versus I took after mom in personality category I was - 
In the AM radio versus television category I was - 

Now, let's go over your preoccupations - 

Were you into building things? Figuring out how things work? Maybe you took electronics apart or built Heath kits. Perhaps you built a treefort or a soap box car. Maybe you had an Easy Bake Oven and you experimented with recipes incessantly. 

Were you into big dreams and practicing to get there? Maybe you wanted to be a tennis star or you hoped to be a rock star so you practiced all the time.  

Were you focused on one sport? One type of toy? One game?  Maybe you liked shooting baskets so much you had your dad put up a floodlight for night shots. Or, maybe you were a Barbie girl living in a Barbie world with the accessories and clothes. It could have been that you loved board games and competition. 

Did you learn an instrument or sport? Perhaps a craft or art?  You sang, you danced, you painted, you macrame'd. In school did you get excited over crafts time, whether it was hand-shaped turkeys or weaving a god's eye with yarn? 

You might start to get a sense of why in some arenas of your life you've not felt fully engaged or out of place. 

Perhaps your job has you as a salesperson but you're shy and a loner by nature. 

Perhaps you always needed to move your body and be outdoors and you're at a desk. 

Perhaps you like time at home when your partner is a social butterfly. 

Here's some simple beginnings to finding that kid again - the genuine you: 

1. Revisiting your youthful interests is a great start to remembering the gifts you had. You might of quit running because your mom thought once you got your period, you should stop sports. Perhaps you fell off a horse and was scared to get back on. Maybe you took to the books in school and spent less and less time fishing. Maybe you put away the paints when you felt you weren't good enough. 

2. Playing like a child is a great way to open your joy reservoir again. Simple things like keeping a bottle of bubbles at your desk and blowing, folding a piece of paper into a plane and launching it, perhaps lying in the grass and watching the shapes of clouds go by, swing on a swing in the park, ride a bike, run through a sprinkler, jump in a pile of leaves.... What if you and your partner fold a piece of paper one rainy Saturday and play table top football -

3. Make something for mom.  Remember bringing home something you made in school? How about doing that today? A post-it note with a funny face and kissing lips to put on the bathroom mirror for someone to find. Maybe you take a Kleenex box and decorate it with Sharpie pens.  Write a poem. Make pancakes shaped like giraffes.

4. Do something kind anonymously.  Leave a note on a co-worker's desk saying "I don't tell you enough, but you are awesome at what you do." Pay for the person behind you's meal at a drive-thru window.

The process of joy is being in the moment. Usually there are two situations that help this - one is being outdoors. When you have no connection to mind-numbing TV or computers/electronics, you tend to be present. Outside, you either think, or you do something active; both of which will make you present. To remember being a kid, time outside with all its sensory input; scent of rain and green lawns just mowed, chimney smoke, clouds and shade, green and blue... it usually resets you easily. The other time you tend to be present is in water, whether it's a bath, shower, pool, lake, or ocean. Water is such a sensory stimulant and you can't necessarily do other things while in water, so you are very present. 

You may not know who you are even at this age, but the minute you start playing HORSE and bouncing a basketball, the real you has a way of showing up and taking over.

Enjoy JOY!