If you missed out on anything in your younger years you might hold the belief that it’s too late to do the things you wished you’d done.
But what if you do them now, what if you make a conscious effort to make up for lost time?
Granted with age comes responsibility, so taking out a few months to go backpacking around Asia might not be feasible, if you now have a full time job and a mortgage to pay but maybe you could do it for a week or two instead.
Sometimes it seems as though once we reach a particular age we have to ‘settle down’ and certain things are no longer available to us. But that’s just you restricting yourself. Just because you didn’t get to have as much fun growing up as you’d have liked doesn’t mean it’s too late.
I don’t know was one of my most used phrases during my school days.
It was an easy 3 words to use in situations where I didn’t want to participate, like class.
I’d sit daydreaming, ruminating or just quietly paying attention. Then all of a sudden a teacher would call on me for the answer to a question.
Perhaps I hadn’t heard it or maybe I didn’t want to think or join in because after all my hand wasn’t even up.
So, I’d almost immediately respond with I don’t know even if after some thought I might have had an answer to contribute.
I never wanted to offeranything because on the occasions that I did, my hand would be up.
And so when I used to say I don’t know it just meant that I didn’t want to offer, join in or engage.
This phase of my life was around 10 years ago at a time where I found it incredibly difficult to use my voice.
These days I’m more commonly heard saying I’m not sure and I’m much more willing to contribute something and be wrong instead of saying nothing at all.
If you find yourself using I don’t know as a regular response ask yourself why because you might find that it could actually be replaced with the phrases ‘I don’t want to think’.
And if you don’t want to think then you might be a lazy person or you might be scared of being wrong.
Either way there’s something to work.
Do you remember when you were your most confident self?
Common advice in challenging situations when we’re afraid is to ask ‘what would [insert name of inspirational person] do?’
I think that’s a really helpful tool but it can also just emphasise the gap between where you’re at and where you want to be instead of bridging it.
So, what if you consult your past self at peak confidence instead. If you were confidence once you can be confident again.
When you find yourself facing a challenge think of a time you were confident or did something difficult in the past. Close your eyes, visualise it, feel that feeling and keep it with you for when you need it.
Maybe it’s the memory of the solo you did in a school play that you can apply to leading your first client meeting.
When you’re caught in fear or your confidence is low it can be easy to forget that you once felt otherwise and that it’s possible to overcome that thing that scares you and feel confident again.
Or at least trying to be.
I remember being around 16 or 17 telling a classmate about my writing hobby and that I had thought of doing it as a career. At the time I was pretty lost with regard to career plans and my civil engineering dream was becoming less and less likely.
My classmate on the other hand was an excellent academic – who went on to study medicine.
He told me (in a roundabout way) that sometimes when you try to turn your hobby into your career it ruins it.
At the time I think I said something like yeah you’re right. But in my head I thought but I wanna be a writer and over half a decade later I still think that.
However, despite wanting to be a writer, I’m now 2 years into a career in transport. For the most part, I’m pretty happy with where I’m at and that has made me realise that more than wanting to be a writer what I really want is to write.
And I do write.
For some people there are aspects of themselves that were developed in childhood as coping mechanisms in order to feel comfortable or safe.
And sometimes those habits or behaviour that were developed during childhood become so familiar and comfortable to us that we carry them through into adulthood.
But the thing is how you coped at 6 might not be so useful to you 2 decades later, in fact you might find that it’s more of a hindrance.
This is why it’s important to get to know yourself and have a level of self-awareness where you can know the why behind the things that you do.
If you can identify something that is no longer working for you then you can also change it to something that does.
There is a belief that the things that brought us joy as kids will be the things that bring us joy as adults, especially after we’ve gone through low periods.
Feeding the birds at the park, reading fiction books, drawing and making daisy chains are some examples of childhood joys.
It’s interesting that as children we find joy in the simplest of things yet as adults we end up believing that happiness is hard to come by.
But what could be compared to the feeling of sitting on a swing in a park on a summer afternoon, swinging back and forth whilst watching the world go by.
Unless of course, you’re not a fan of swings.
I think I’ve always been a bit of a daydreamer but also someone who can spend long amounts of time in their own thoughts and their own company.
I did that so freely as a child and it’s only really as I got older that it felt like it became an issue. I fell into trying to be someone outside of who I am and other people would comment negatively on me simply being myself.
As much as I can be so many different things, the part of me that just likes to sit and get lost in creating always remains.