thoughts on becoming: regain a sense childhood curiosity, imagination, and love for make believe

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Why becoming is better than being.
Why it's ok that you don't have it all figured out. 
And how to regain a sense childhood curiosity, imagination, and love for make believe in our adult lives.

I was reminded of this quote recently:

{Becoming is better than being}

Having studied art in college - I was always driven by process. Usually much more invigorated by the act of creating, than by the end product. ⠀

But as I transitioned into my professional and personal adult life, this love of process seemed to fade. Instead it was replaced by a need to produce. Results, income, success. ⠀

Things felt more like the means to an end - a ceaseless hamster wheel moving us ever so slowly in a forward direction. ⠀

It took me a while to realize I had lost my love for the process. ⠀

We have heard before that even in goal setting - we often times reap more benefit and satisfaction from the pursuit of a goal, than from reaching the goal itself. Even to the point of feeling empty or lost once a goal is reached. ⠀

Yet we still put continuous pressure on ourselves to keep pushing forward towards the next goal. The next raise. The next thing. ⠀

And we forget to savor the beauty of the in-between. ⠀

That beautiful phase of process where we are becoming that which we wish to be. ⠀

In the recent weeks, I seem to be falling further and further behind on my to-do list and my goals. And that has caused a heaviness. A feeling of less than. A feeling of incomplete. ⠀

As I start a new day, I am looking to instead find the beauty, the grace, and the excitement of the process once again. ⠀

We will never actually be where we are going. Because once we accomplish one goal - once we reached one destination - we are already on to the next. ⠀

If we are constantly waiting to feel complete from finishing our next big goal - we will all be waiting a long time. ⠀

Instead, find the quiet peace within the process. Knowing that each day we are inching closer and closer to where and who we are meant to be. ⠀

*

You are not yet the person you are to become
{and it’s ok}

From the time you were little, you were pressed with the question - {what do you want to be when you grow up?} As if we all should know the answer to this lofty question from the time we are only in grade school. 

I can remember feeling the weight of this question from such a young age. At first it can be exciting as a child - you can do and be anything you want to - all things are possible

But as the years carried on, my concept of this question changed quiet drastically.
{I can only do ONE thing for the rest of my life?}

The weight of choosing just one thing was limiting to me.

As a child I lived off of make believe and creativity. 

One day I was a famous artist painting beautiful works or art on used restaurant napkins or scraps of wood I found in the garage. 

The next I was a great mountain climber, scaling the walls of my backyard jungle gym with bungee cords and rope. 

But as the years dragged on, one by one, my dreams seemed to fade away. If I could only have one, what was the point of spending time imagining the rest? 

For many years I tried sticking to one thing to only ever come up short - feeling a little bit less year after year - wondering what was missing. 

And the truth is - I lost my gift of make believe. I had lost my imagination of possibility for my future. I had gotten stagnant and bored in my one thing.

This happens to the best of us. We lose sight of our childhood gift for creativity and possibility as we age. And for many of us, we get stuck. Stagnant. Bored. From the pursuit of only one thing. 

We get the job. The house. The family. And then….

we stop living. 

We stop dreaming of possibilities. We stop learning new things. We stop using our creativity. We label play and make-believe as childish and settle into our adult lives with contempt and worry. 

But the truth is that we don’t have to live that way. We can choose to live a life of possibility, a life of adventure, a life of creativity, a life of never ending learning. 

Because you are not yet the person you are to become. And if you are one of the lucky ones, you never will be.

*

So how do we regain a sense of childhood curiosity, imagination, and love for make believe in our adult lives?

here are my top...

10 Rituals to do just that.

 

01. Slow Down

As we get older, we start to process information faster and faster, and the general pace of our life picks up to unhealthy speeds. So our first ritual is simply to slow down.

Find space in your day. Even for just a moment. Sit on a park bench, go for a walk, look at a painting in a museum for 5 minutes straight. Slow down your current pace. Because in all honesty, you just can't keep going at this speed. And take a moment to really notice what is around you.

 

02. Try something NEW

As we get older, we often lose our adventurous sprit - our tendency to be spontaneous. In light of this try something new. And better yet, try something that scares you {not terrifies you, but scares you just a little bit}

Hike up a mountain, jump out of a plane, invest in a life coach. By simply trying something we haven't done before - we will automatically invoke that childhood curiosity and excitement.

 

03. Learn something NEW

Along the same lines of trying something new...learn something new. It is so easy to get comfortable in the repetitive nature of our day to day living. We get up and do the same things, got to work and do the same tasks, come home and watch the same shows. So try shaking things up by learning something new.

Try a yoga workout in the morning. Take on a new task at work that is outside your comfort zone. At night - trade your TV time for learning a new language.

When we learn something new, it ignites parts of our brain that grow lazy over the years. Learning something new will ignite that same excitement inside of you that you felt when you rode a bike for the very first time! 

{make learning new things a bigger priority than getting new stuff}

 

04. Get outside

As we get older, we tend to spend more and more time indoors. Whether that be behind a desk, or behind a TV screen. With the exception of walking to the mailbox, or the occasional yard work - most of us do not make outside time a priority. 

But we need sunshine and fresh air to function, and to scare away mild depression. So start making it a priority to get outside every day. And I mean more than just your walk from the car to your office. 

Go for a walk on your break. Eat your lunch at a park bench. Play a game of soccer outside with the family in the evening. Just get outside and breathe in that fresh air. 

 

05. Play Adult Make Believe

Spend some time each day, or each week getting lost in some helpful thoughts of make believe. Visualization has been proven time and time again to have amazing benefits for our brain, and our overall wellbeing. So, just like when you were a kid pretending to scale a great mountain wall or become the next Picasso - take some time to visualize your goal and dreams. 

One exercise I like to play is to think of "my best self" - that is to visualize what it would look like when I was the best version of myself. You can start by thinking of a time that you really felt at your best - or think of what you want your best self to look like in the future. 

 

06. Reframe boring situations

We all find ourselves in boring situations or doing mundane tasks throughout our day. Whether it is waiting in line at the grocery store, or entering figures into a spreadsheet. But we have control over how we choose to see these activities. 

So, how can we reframe some of these mundane situations? First, look for meaning in even the most menial of daily activities. What lessons can you learn? 

Second, ask more questions. Whether that be out loud to those around you, or just get more inquisitive about your surroundings within your own head. Find a sense of wonder in what is around you. 

Third, look for tiny details that others may miss. Look around. Really see what is around you. What interesting details can you find or learn from your surroundings? 

Lastly, make more social connections. Trying talking to those around you. Strike up a conversation. You may learn something interesting or make a new friend. And if you are alone in an office, listen to a podcast. Make a connection with someone new that way. Listen to someones story or advice and let it enrich even the most boring of tasks. 

 

07. Live in the Present

When we were little, we spent very little time worry about the past or stressing about the future. It was all about the here and now. What we were doing in that very moment took up 100% of our attention. We had laser focus that is so hard to harness once we get older. 

As adults we have information and tasks flying at us from every direction. So it is easy to be thinking about the to-do list waiting for us at home, while we are trying to have a thoughtful meeting with a client at work. 

So how do we remedy this? With greater mindfulness. Or rather - just awareness of what we are doing, and where our thoughts are. 

For just one day, try to do only a single task at a time. That means, if you need to finish a report for work, close out all other windows - including your email. Focus on just that one task - everything else can wait. If you are having a conversation with your spouse, put down your phone, and focus on every word that is coming out of their mouth. If you can't completely shut down your running mind, ask questions about the situation or make observations about details you may otherwise miss. 

The point is to do less at a time - stop trying to multi-task, it doesn't work - and focus {really focus} on every task throughout your day.