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.
In between listening to podcasts, laughing and reviewing information I got thinking about my book.
The book I believed I’d write when I was 9, the book I wanted to write at 15, the book I thought about starting last summer.
I really do think I could write a book even though I’m often daunted by the thought of it. It’ll be somewhere between self-help, social science and mystery.
Sometimes I think I haven’t lived enough to start writing a book but then again is there ever really a right time to start anything.
I know the answer.
The last thing I want to do is be that person wanting the same things I want now in 20 years time because I was too scared or lazy to pursue them.
I think I might start my book this summer.
I was 18 years old sitting on a swing in a park at dusk. I felt lost at the time and also a little hopeless. I didn’t know what to do, what I should or even could do and so I sat swinging on the swing.
It was a return to something I loved to do as a kid that brought me joy at a time in my life when I needed it.
The spirit of your childhood self works like a medicine, it can clear the fog in your mind and give you a fresh perspective.
With age we often loose that spark we had as children that freedom and care free attitude.
I used to do all kinds of things when I was younger just because I could. At school I played football and netball but was also in the dance, music, cooking and sewing club. I was probably the worst on the netball team and my sense of rhythm is enthusiastic, but it was always still fun.
I did things because the opportunity was there, and I took it. For me it was always just about doing things, not about how good I was or being better than anyone else.
That is probably one of the main things I miss as I’ve gotten older and as I spend more time returning to the pastimes of my past self, I’m also making an effort to return to that old mindset.
Do more, think less.
Growing up I had quite a few occasions where when I would try to speak up about something it was either dismissed or I could clearly tell that the other person wasn’t listening. Through that I learnt to talk less and be more closed off.
Recently, I realised that I had carried this childhood experience into my adult life. That belief became part of my subconsciousness. I would go around with this story that people weren’t listening, it became a sort of self fulfilling prophecy because I had stopped giving people the chance.
But on the flip-side, it meant that when I did open up it came with too much meaning because it was such a rare thing. I can honestly say that that factor has put a lot of pressure on relationships I’ve had.
So now, moving forward with this gift of self awareness, I’m making a conscious effort to be more open. I’m working towards being less anxious and not writing things off before I’ve even given them a go.
I’ve met so many people who I, suppose I judged initially and didn’t open up to but I’ve later come to find that those same people are the ones I actually have a lot in common with.
For me though, it’s not just about giving other people the chance. It’s about giving myself a chance to step outside of old habits, patterns and stories that I tell myself.
Seth Godin once said something like ‘if the story you’re telling yourself isn’t working tell a new one’, i think that’s some pretty useful advice.