One Sunday after church when I was a kid, I remember looking out the backseat window of our family car. I was dreaming of life as an adult, and how free I would be.
If someone told me what adulthood would really be like as a kid, I would’ve made sure to enjoy those simpler times more. Unfortunately, we can’t travel back to those simpler times. Fortunately, I have 5 tips that may help you manage the challenges of adulthood more.
Embrace Your Inner Child
One thing I’ve learned in therapy is that we all have an inner child that could use some love. You can read more on your inner child here. The concept suggests that our experiences from the past subconsciously guide our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours in the present. These experiences can be great sources of joy, or forms of trauma to heal from. I believe the more we can be aware of our inner child, the more we can understand the forces that guide us in adulthood. This clarity can help us find more autonomy in our lives, make time for hobbies we enjoy, and create a blueprint to heal our wounds. Reflection is a great tool, but I’d strongly suggest speaking to a trained mental health professional to find a personalized way to engage in this work.
If you’re a student, consider a counselor or therapist provided through institutions. If you are employed, consider how to use your workplace benefits. If none of these apply to you, I’d suggest searching up therapists and counselors that offer a “sliding scale” payment system in your area. This lets you access therapy services at affordable rates.
Make Room for Hobbies
The older we get, the more responsibilities we find ourselves with. The work isn’t going anywhere, so it’s crucial that we make time to play. Explore new hobbies, and also rediscover old ones that make your inner child happy.
For example, I know video games were personally a big source of enjoyment growing up. If you are reading this blog, you probably can’t step to me in Street Fighter 4. I find a lot of joy when I can make time for video games as an adult. And if you can’t tell from our Instagram page, I feel the same way about anime. It feels like something that keeps me “young”, but also gives me something to look forward to.
Having something to look forward to can give us the spark we need to keep our eyes bright and our heads high.
Tap into Your Wellness
None of us are invincible. Age doesn’t stop us from experiencing health problems, but we can see more of them the older we get.
Check-ins with doctors, improving your diet and exercise habits, and maintaining social connections can be key in improving our overall health. There are also 7 types of rest you should make time for in your life.
Accept The Low Times
If I were to focus on how to stay positive all the time, I would be lying to you. I’ve already experienced some significant loss in adulthood. We all probably have at some point. I find that accepting these low times gradually results in two things. The first is a recognition of the grief that can come with trauma and loss. Giving ourselves space for this helps to validate our emotions, which can feel freeing in some way. The second is an appreciation for what is still in our lives, and what we had before. I find that this appreciation can give us the capacity to enjoy life a little bit more. The gratitude we find in our dark moments can give us the light we need to not let life pass us by.
Do you remember what it was like to write your dreams down as a kid? Do you remember the excitement you felt drawing yourself as an astronaut lawyer doctor nba player? Maybe that one was just me. The point is, it probably felt nice to dream. As we grow up, it seems much harder to do this.
Our dreams may change over time. Some we may reach. Some we don't. At the root of it, I believe we should always dream no matter the outcome.
People often say that life is a journey and not just a destination. I believe there’s another layer to this metaphor. Life is also found in dreaming about the destination along the journey. We need to take action to reach our goals, but we must never lose sight of the enjoyment we feel each step of the way. The yearning we feel as our dreams slowly become reality.
This is the key to holding onto to the sparks we could often feel in our youth. I encourage you to dream in the simplest and most profound of ways. Dream about that next milestone. Get excited about the leftover pizza waiting for you in the fridge.
Life is full of times that constantly seem to pass us by. Moments that are always fleeting. We can’t control these things, but we can control our ability to dream.
Please never lose sight of this, and never let your ability to dream go. Your dreams will ultimately help you manage the lowpoints of adulthood.