Life was so much simpler when we were younger. We played, we ate, we slept. We were this sponge – absorbing new information every single day. I recall growing up on the streets of Staten Island, playing hopscotch and tag with my cousins and neighbors, staying outside until the street lights came on. Catching lightning bugs. There were no cell phones or video games. We used our imagination acting out plays, making forts from sheets and creating shoebox dioramas. We danced in the rain and made our own Halloween costumes from cardboard boxes.
Childhood was also a time when we challenged authority and found our voice by saying no – sometimes resulting in punishment but all the time molding us into our own unique being. We weren’t afraid to try new things, from riding a bike to playing a sport. The thought never crossed our mind that we wouldn’t do it – whenever we fell, we just got back up and kept going. We didn’t care what clothing brand our friends were wearing or whether they had a large house with a pool… OK maybe the pool was a bonus 🙂 We didn’t care about the color of someone’s skin or what religion they were. All we knew was that we were just friends.
What happened to that innocent child, the one who saw the world as endless opportunities and open possibilities, who befriended their classmates regardless of social status and shared they’re crayons with someone when theirs broke? The child who laughed for an hour at a silly knock-knock joke, danced like no one was watching and sang at the top of their lungs even if they couldn’t carry a tune?
So what happened? Life happened. As we got older, we became swayed by social expectations, formed beliefs based on our upbringing and became part of a certain crowd such as the jocks or nerds. We became aware of being judged by what we wore and who we hung out with, and wanted to fit in. Responsibility with school, work and family became a priority and our inner joy got pushed aside. Our inner voice took a backseat to social media influences and the perceived reality of this cold, hard world. We became jaded from failed relationships, lost jobs or friends who double-crossed us. Or maybe we simply lost ourselves trying to ‘keep up with the Joneses.’
Life isn’t always fair, but it is the only life we have, so why not make the most of it. It’s time to find your joy again. Choose to see the glass half full. Choose to reframe those bad experiences and be grateful for the good ones. Choose to find your inner voice and say No when something is not aligned with your beliefs or journey. Choose to dance in the rain, sing in the car and laugh… Every. Single. Day. I firmly believe in the energy in and around us and when we remain in a negative state, we attract more negativity. So turn that doubt inside out and choose joy instead. Believe that you can.. And you will. Never give up. I like to view every failure as flopportunity – an opportunity to learn from a flop and come out bigger and better on the other side. The only time we truly fail is when we stop trying.
Think about it. A toddler doesn’t try to walk once and then give up when she falls down. She keeps at it, more determined with each step, learning what works and using that to build more strength and focus. She celebrates when she can push herself up and make it across the room. She doesn’t give up learning to read because she didn’t get it on the first try. She takes it one day at a time, learning the letters, sounding them out and them putting them together to form words. And before she knows it, reading becomes automatic.
That inner child still exists within each and every one of us. It’s time to get back on the bike, find your joy, laugh, and follow the journey you were meant to experience. Live with purpose; your purpose. Take a class. Learn a new skill. Believe you can. Open your eyes to the good in the world. Run barefoot in the grass. Share kindness with a stranger. Take 5 minutes every day to do something that brings you joy and raise your vibrations. When you channel your inner child and live with a grateful heart and open mind, you raise your energy and attract more joy into your life. Remember how good it feels to feel good, to smile, to laugh. Go ahead – ask your inner child if she’d like to come out and play.