This week was one of my favorite episodes of The Hectic Podcast. We got to meet one of the show’s biggest fans—Darryl’s daughter, Olivia!
Olivia loves dogs and is currently on an organizing kick. Her ADHD is her superpower, giving her hyperfocus that helps her get stuff done. To fuel her creativity, she works on a variety of different projects at the same time. Through building puzzles, creating art, and organizing, she is developing a creative foundation that will last for the rest of her life.
As I listened to Olivia share, I was captivated by the sweet, innocent confidence in her voice. It made me almost nostalgic, taking me back to life at her age. In my memories, 11 was one of the best ages. I was able to do more than I could as a little kid, but I didn’t yet feel the crushing pressure that comes with the teen years.
I was allowed to watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy for the first time when I was 11. I wrote my first short story at 11, an experience that birthed my love affair with writing. I was unashamedly obsessed with horses, reading, the Redwall books, and a great many other things that I can’t remember any more. I think I even started baking and learning about cake decorating around that age.
It was a time of exploration, of viewing the world through a childlike lens that saw possibilities everywhere. There were no shoulds to limit my dreams or shame to tarnish my passions.
I might not be able to turn back the clock, but that doesn’t mean that I can never feel that same freedom. With the tips below, I hope that both you and I can remember how it feels to be young, happy, and carefree.
Several guests have brought up the importance of play. As grown people with responsibilities, it can be hard to let go of your shoulds long enough to enjoy simple pleasures. But the longer you go without play, the harder it is to let go of the anxieties and stresses you face every day.
Strategic childlike-ness, as Austin Church called it, can take many forms. He liked to read children’s fantasy fiction. Darryl carries around a Dr. Seuss book for times of emergency play.
You may find solace in playing a video game, building Legos, or swinging at your local park. If you don’t know what to do, think back to the activities you enjoyed as a child. Indulge in these simple pleasures to remind yourself that life is meant to be fun.
Every child goes through phases and obsessions. These interests shift as they grow older, but they may not disappear entirely. By rediscovering these passions, you can reclaim a bit of childhood magic.
Additionally, revisiting childhood interests can help you figure out what you want from life when you don’t know where to start. You can also find new opportunities to do the things you only dreamed about as a kid.
Rekindle your love for the ocean by joining a whale watching tour or going snorkeling. Buy that mega-pack Lego kit you always wanted. Visit the local skate park to see what you remember and challenge yourself with new tricks. Take a trip to Disney World.
Give yourself permission to embrace the things that make you excited, no matter what they might be.
Your internal dialogue is often the biggest obstacle to overcome, especially when you’re indulging in simple pleasures.
You should be doing something better with your time than playing. You shouldn’t eat cake for breakfast. Adults shouldn’t spend their money on toys or read kids’ books.
As Devonnae Williams said, stop shoulding on yourself.
Focus instead on evaluating the truth of each should. Maybe you need do to spend some time being productive, but you can also make room for a bit of play in your schedule. Eating cake for breakfast every day wouldn’t be healthy, but one time isn’t going to make a difference.
The more you challenge your shoulds, the less automatic they will be. You can make your mind a sanctuary, much the way it was when you were younger.
Get the full story here to learn which guest Olivia relates to the most, what she’s most proud of in her life, and the advice she has for the adults listening to the podcast.