Last week in my communications class we all took a trip back to being a child. Our task was to draw a picture of what we looked like when we were between the ages of four and eight. Then on the left of the picture we had to write down what we liked to do at that age, our favourite shows, and what we wanted to be when we grew up. We then had to write our name on it. The catch to this seemingly simple task was that the whole thing had to be done with our non-dominant hand.
We all sat there at our desks concentrating so hard on firstly how to hold a pen with the other hand, and secondly really having to think hard about that time of our lives. Once we had finished we shared the work we had done in a small group. We sat there laughing at our funny pictures and reminisced on all the shows we used to watch and toys we used to play with.
After the exercise the lecturer reminded us that between the age of four and eight is when we learn how to write and that by doing the task with our non-dominant hand we would really be taken back to that time. What followed was a discussion about how we can ignite the inner child within us and how that might affect our lives today.
For me, my childhood is filled with so many memories of dancing. I can remember standing in front of the mirror with a plastic microphone pretending to be Charli from Hi-5. I also have early memories of being in the kitchen with my mum and both my nonnas. I can still recall standing at my nonna’s table making gnocchi with her and hearing her tell stories of my mum when she was little.
“Childhood means simplicity. Look at the world with the child’s eye – it is very beautiful.” – Kailash Satyarthi
Obviously as we get older and life goes on our interests are further developed and we are influenced by what is happening around us. We might go through school and discover that we have a musical talent, are very good at science and maths or are really good at sports. Unfortunately, it can be so easy to focus and gravitate towards the things we are good at and lose touch with the things that we genuinely enjoy doing. I am quite academically inclined which means that much of what I do involves a lot of reading, comprehension and writing. Things I am good at and enjoy enough to do every day but it is not the thing I do when I want time to just fly past.
Have you ever found yourself being so engrossed in what you are doing that hours have passed by without you noticing? In class we had a discussion about the things we do when this happens to us. For some it was gardening, for others it was drawing. For me it is being in the kitchen. I could literally spend hours in the kitchen. I’ll start with the simple task of preparing dinner and before I know it I have prepared dinner for the next two nights and have a loaf of banana bread ready to go in the oven. What we found was that thing that passes time for us now was often the same task that would pass the time when we were a child.
On the weekend I really wanted to do something that was going to make my inner child very happy. I decided that my sister, my boyfriend and I should all go in the kitchen together and make hot cross buns.
Bruno came and picked me up when I finished work at five and we went to Coles and stocked up on all the ingredients we need. When we got home my sister prepared dinner while Bruno and I got stuck into the dough. It was so much fun just hanging out in the kitchen together and laughing when things didn’t exactly go to plan. While our dough was rising we sat and ate our dinner and chatted. It reminded me so much of the time I would spend with nonna while we sat and rolled out all the gnocchi. By the time we actually got to eat the hot cross buns on Friday it was nearly 10 o’clock but it honestly felt like we weren’t in the kitchen that long.
Sometimes it really is the simplest things that bring so much joy. I found that by igniting the sparkle in my inner child on the weekend I was able to let go of anything that was stressing me out and just be in the moment. By not thinking of the future or the past I was able to focus on the present moment and just how blessed I was to be doing something I absolutely love with the people I love.
This week I challenge you to think back to when you were a child and what you liked to do and think about if there is something you can do this week to bring that feeling back. Hop into the garden for a few minutes, have a dance around the house, draw a picture, ride your bike, go outside and collect some leaves or make a chocolate cake and lick the batter bowl clean. It doesn’t have to be anything too big or time consuming but I think you will find that when you start you won’t want to stop!
“If you carry your childhood with you, you never become older.” – Tom Stoppard.