When You Were Eight
If you have spent time with me in person, you have probably heard me ask you a silly question.
What did you spend your free time doing when you were eight? (Or nine, ten, or eleven…)
Did you go deep into the woods and hunt for bugs? Did you close your eyes and spin around just to see what it felt like? Did you spend hours drawing with your crayons, playing with dolls, or making creations with whatever you could find around the house?
Your unique answer is key to unlocking your deeper creative side and an important piece of what makes you feel truly happy. I’m not talking about how much you love your kids or your family or your job…I’m talking about something JUST for you that is nothing but pure happiness.
“But I’m not eight or nine or ten anymore,” You might be saying, “I’m an adult with responsibilities and kids of my own and a busy, busy schedule. This feels weird!”
I know…it does!
But here’s the thing: when you were eight or nine or ten, you didn’t have all those responsibilities yet. The weight of your peers’ opinions hadn’t really had a chance to change you. And the beauty of that is…
You spent most of your time doing ONLY things that made YOU truly happy.
I watched a documentary few years ago called “Happy.” The idea is really cool. The filmmakers looked at cultures all around the world, specifically the ones that identified as being the most happy, and tried to identify the secrets to happiness.
One of the big things that all of the happy cultures they observed had in common was that they spent time regularly experiencing what the documentary called “flow.” Flow can be thought of as that feeling when something is really clicking…when you kind of lose yourself in the task for little while and you feel really, really good.
When you were a kid, daydreaming and playing, you experienced that feeling of flow ALL the time. And now, thinking about times that you felt that way, you might discover information that can expand your life.
So what DID you do when you were a are nine or ten in your free time? What did you think about all day and couldn’t wait to get home from school to do?
A lot of you might be thinking,
“Oh yeah. That’s great, but my days are jam packed. I have literally no time to myself and I’m constantly caring for other people’s things and working at my job.”
(Stay with me here! :))
It’s NOT more time that you need to regularly experience flow a.k.a. happiness, it is a small shift in the way that you think. If you are feeling like life is monotonous and that you will have some “you time” someday when…you need a pit stop asap!
You can’t drive a car forever without stopping to put in some gas.
“You time” is not a destination. To live a happy life, you need to design a life that includes it.
There will always be someone else who needs you to do something for them. If not your husband and kids, then your parents and siblings. There is no magic time in your life when you are done with everything.
If you are constantly wearing yourself out by working and working and working and taking care of others, eventually, the car is just gonna stop. Sometimes that can mean a feeling of just going through the motions of life, going to sleep dreading the monotony of the days to come.
But it really, REALLY does not have to be that way. Even taking LITERALLY three minutes every day to do something completely creative without purpose, helps recharge your battery.
How to make time for creativity when you have no time:
1. Start a list – remember when I asked you at the beginning of this post what you like to do for fun when you’re eight or nine or 10? That’s the starting point for your list. Try to come up with 5 to 10 things you really loved to do when you were young. Don’t worry just now about how realistic they would be for you now or if it seems weird to write down like playing with Barbie dolls.
Just write it down.
2.Take a look at your list – See if there are things that you would love to do now. If not, try to find similarities in what you wrote down. What made you feel good when you were doing those things? For example, as a kid you loved digging in the dirt and hunting for bugs. All of your activities were solitary and outside in nature. From that, you might now discover a passion for nature photography.
Why not try both!? 🙂
3. Set alarms on your phone or calender and do small things from your list that make you feel happy – Plan just three minutes a day for this to start. If you have more time to explore this each day, go for it! Even if you have just a little time, research the things you love and plan a longer time for the weekend.
If you spend even a small amount of time every day opening the door to that part of your brain, you will find it becomes easier to tap into it. The feeling of joy will flow into more parts of your life.
You will expand.
And you will not believe what a difference just a few minutes a day can make!