“What do you want to be when you grow up?” is a question that we are constantly asked as kids and are expected to have an answer for as well.
Honestly, I think that is a terribly flawed question! For one, it conditions us to believe that we must choose one thing we want to do for the rest of our lives, and secondly, that growth is a game that ends upon reaching adulthood (which, of course, it is not!).
The truth is, we never stop growing, we just think we do. Who I was ten years ago is not who I am today. And the same will apply to ten years hence. Aging is something we must all endure, but the idea of growing up, is not. And if we learn how to reconnect with our inner child—our youthful spirit—wouldn’t that invite more excitement, playfulness, creative expression, and wonder into our everyday life?
Our child self knows who we truly are. Our spirit and inner child crave to be heard, seen, valued, and spoiled rotten. Yet, our culture tends to over-value efficiency and decisiveness. Many thoughtless criticisms tend to stay with us throughout our lives and keep us from exploring what excites us.
Our Inner Child is naturally curious, so why aren’t we?
Some of us have never lost touch with this unique part of ourselves. Some of us have lost, forgotten, or ignored this inner child for years. Becoming young again means becoming curious again.
And it begins with asking questions.
What did you love doing when you were a child? What did you do that made you lose track of time for hours? Go ahead, make a list.
I loved to draw and colour. I climbed trees and told stories. I read lots of books.
Take your list and explore an activity. Buy a toy, visit a sentimental place, or write a letter to your younger self. There are no wrong answers.
What did you want to be when you grew up? Who do you imagine you might be in an alternate reality? A ballerina? A rockstar? A painter?
Create a list with ten alternate lives. Then, pick something and spend time doing it for an hour or an afternoon. If you wanted to be a traveling photographer, grab a camera, take photos, start a photography class, or join a local group. Save your list for future playtime ideas. Engaging with your inner child is critical for creativity, and the journey nurtures our soul in ways that make us feel whole.
If you are feeling excitement is lacking in your daily life, then I urge you to reconnect with your inner child, so you can unleash its innate sense of wonder. Keep asking questions so you can stay curious, and when you land on an exciting idea, let your imagination take you for a ride.
In the 13th century, Rumi wrote: “Inside you there’s an artist you don’t know about.” In the 20th century, Picasso said that “All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”
Have you spent time with your inner child today?