Last week I sat down with my lovely girlfriend and watched a home video of my 3rd Birthday.
Being the lucky boy that I was, I had a house full of family, a Flintstones themed cake and a load of Duplo to play with. What more can you ask for?
I learnt a few things from watching my younger self:
- I apparently loved pretending to be a rhino, and roaring like a lion.
- I was partial to dancing to some Lionel Richie.
- I liked fighting my older cousin – the martial arts started pretty early.
- I was brainwashed into being a Chelsea fan, despite liking Ryan Giggs and Eric Cantona…
- My family were and still are lovely, and I liked giving everyone lots of kisses.
Apart from reinforcing the fact that my head has always been a bit a mixed up, watching that video got me thinking a bit.
I came up with a foolproof theory, and I’ll share it with you today.
I lied, my theory is far from foolproof, but I’ll write about it anyway. I talked it through with my girlfriend, and with one of my good friends whilst out on a run, and they didn’t slate me too much, so here goes…
When you’re a child, time seems to go a lot slower than it does when you’re an adult. I argue that it may be because as a child, you reside predominantly in the present moment, rather than worrying about the past or future.
I remember that when I was little, the days seemed to last ages. The Summer holidays went on for an eternity.
I had yet to grasp the man made notion of time. I was inexperienced with it, compared to today. Big school, university, getting a job – it all seemed so distant. My little mind couldn’t fathom how far away those events were, so it went back to what it knew – what was happening in the present moment, right now.
Watching my younger self play with those Duplo bricks, the concentration on my face was incredible. Nothing else was bothering me, just the Duplo (and occasionally my Dad asking me some pretty distracting questions).
When you are mindful and in the moment; playing with your toys, making up games, pretending to be a rhino – time can stand still. You don’t worry about the past, and the future seems so far away it’s not worth bothering with.
As we get a little older however, things start to change…
We lose some of our childlike innocence. We get used to that little thing called stress, and become more experienced with the concept of time. We worry about the mistakes we made in the past, and begin to fret over what might come in the future.
We become focussed on to do lists, deadlines, targets, goals, forecasts.
Three more weeks to the end of term. Just a year and I’ll be done with uni. Only a few years to the next pay rise.
We can quite easily get stuck in the habit of wishing our lives away. Time flies, and before we know it we’re 50 and wondering where everything went. So we buy a fancy car to make us feel better…
BEING PRESENT LIKE A CHILD
So how can we regain that childlike Zen state of mind? How can we stop wishing our lives away and be more present?
We knew the answers once upon a time, but we seem to have forgotten. So here are 20 things you can do to remind yourself:
1. If you have children or young relatives, spend more time with them, learn from them.
2. Play more.
3. Relax and do nothing sometimes.
4. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
5. Have a hobby, get engrossed in it regularly.
6. Follow your dreams. Do what you love doing, instead of what you think you should be doing.
7. Forgive people, don’t hold on to grudges. Forgive yourself.
8. Don’t set concrete goals with a specific time-frame. Take the pressure off.
9. Do what feels natural, dance around, sing, whatever you feel like.
10. Start running, or some form of regular exercise.
11. Enjoy what you are doing right now.
12. Let your emotions out. Cry if you need to.
14. Learn to breathe properly, like a child does.
15. Be silly, laugh more.
16. Spend time with friends, just having fun.
17. Do something hands on, like crafts.
18. Do things spontaneously, don’t always plan ahead.
19. Be open to changing your mind, don’t get stuck with the same beliefs.
20. Learn a few methods to avoid stress.
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