Do you ever really truly grow up? You may be wondering what I mean, like, OF COURSE, we grow up as we grow older. What I mean is, do you think you ever actually grow out of your childhood?
Still confused? I mean that I truly believe that parts of your childhood and your childlike behaviors and habits stay with you your entire life. I do not believe that anyone truly loses some of their childness, even at morbid ages.
As I am transitioning into my 20s, I have found that relating to my childhood and engaging in activities I used to enjoy, or do frequently, have become a central interest, or a current hobby. After having what I deemed a quarter-life crisis for about 3 years, I felt a little bit lost and unsure what the concept of “growing up” was, which may sound stupid. I was dealing with the insecurities of not knowing how a grown up acted, did, or behaved. All I knew was that I needed to get a job, start paying for things, become more independent, and party less, emphasis on partying less. I am not going to lie, to me, the idea of growing up slightly irritated me, because it meant that I had less time to do the things that I wanted. But, at the time, I am fairly sure I did not even have enough ideas to fill up my time.
While working full-time and being a full-time student left me to a limited amount of “free time,” even then I wanted to uncover the insecurities behind my quarter-life crisis. The ultimate insecurity behind my quarter-life crisis, which is not quite solved, was not knowing enough about myself to be passionate about, AKA a lack of hobbies. Working and education are great outlets to find your likes and dislikes, but your time cannot be consumed with this, as it will end up being detrimental to your sense of self. While finding the hobbies I truly enjoyed took me years, and I am still figuring it all out, I found that relating to my childhood and what I enjoyed during my childhood to help uncover my hobbies. Instead of killing time with mindless hours of work and school in order to ignore my self-doubt, I began finding out most of my current hobbies were hobbies I kept up as a youth.
Even your interests as a child, or childhood activities you engaged in, play a substantial role in shaping our own current interests. Growing up, I was quite athletic (if I do say so myself), engaging in gymnastics, soccer, karate, aikedo, swim team, tennis, cross country, and yoga. Similarly, my parents emphasized extra curriculars, such as piano, which developed my own passion for the art of music. They also promoted art, which has played a substantial role in my love and envolvement with art-like hobbies, such as crafting, journaling, reading, free-writing and coloring. Finally, growing up with a tech-savvy father, I became very invested in social media and technology, applying his coding techniques to PIMP out my Myspace. When I say PIMPED out, I mean my background for my Myspace was a collage of all my favorite pictures of me and my friends, which took hours of coding. YES, I did play hookey in order to dedicate hours of my life perfecting my social media. My love for fashion came from the technology of YouTube, where I would watch YouTubers do what they called “clothing hauls.” I followed various YouTubers, and while for most of my life fashion was not relevant, I slowly began enjoying the expressionism that fashion allowed. With all these past interests and involvement in these things, I developed hobbies, such as coloring, blogging, photography, and of course, it shaped the reason why I chose my major.
Regardless of hobbies, childhood behaviors and personality traits do stick with you wherever you go, even to your grave. In general I am a pretty outgoing person, but since I was a kid, in a group of new people, I am very quiet and reserved. This is something that I still struggle with. Even as a child, I would use my awkwardness as a sense of humor to try not to be so awkward. This tactic fortunately stuck with my entire life. Similarly, though I do not try to admit it, I AM A NERD AND PERFECTIONIST. Since childhood, I have found myself trying SO hard when it comes to everything in my life, especially when it comes to academics. This has been one of the traits that I still struggle with, as I seem unmotivated sometimes from the anxiety of not being perfect. To everyone’s surprise, my notes are all color-coated, and YES, it does irritate me when I make a mistake when I am writing my notes. Since I was younger, I would rip out the pages of notes, even if it meant that I had to rewrite the notes on the other side of the paper, and begin writing the notes again. This is one of my forcib habits that truly prove not to be time efficient, especially not that I am attending college. Even now though, I find myself scrunching my face whether I make a color-coding mistake, or if I have to cross something out. These things do stick with you, whether you realize it or not.
Enough about me, though.
I truly believe getting in touch with your childhood, and your hobbies, will help develop a handful of ideas for hobbies to help you with your journey of self-discovery. Try to utilize your childness (in this case, childhood behavioral traits, childhood personality traits, and childhood hobbies) to your advantage, as they will always be a part of you. Your childhood shapes the person you are, EVEN TO THE GRAVE, even if you are not asking for it to. Instead of fighting the child in you, channel it towards your present reality, because it may maninfest into something great for you. I would even challenge the idea that you completely change from the person you were as a child, and believe the correct theory is that you develop and evolve from your childlikeness.
Needless to say, relating to my childhood, helped me develop my current pasttimes that were definitely shaped by my childhood interests, and assisted me in realizing that my childlike behavioral and personality traits are something that can still be utilized. In fact, not only am I more satisfied with how I spend my time, I am much more happier about the person that I am and find myself relating the present to my childhood. You can truly uncover a multitude of realizations just from STAYING TRUE TO THE TRUE CHILD IN YOU.
For starters, I still try to enforce nap-time and snack-time in my life, so not much has changed since my birth. Similarly, I do not currently drive and am usually chauffered by either friends, my parents, and strangers from Lyft and Uber, which is equivalent to being driven around by your best friend’s parents who are completely strangers to you. My point is that I never drove as a child and to this day I find myself in the backseat being chauffered around, so truly not much has changed. Last point, as a child, I always wore my hair in half-up buns, half-up ponytails, french braids, fun buns (two buns), pony tails, or buns – THIS STILL IS RELEVANT. I made this discovery recently while my friend was going through my childhood pictures and pointed this out, as I usually wear my hair in one of those styles even to this day. Unconsciously or conconsiously your past does follow you, or maybe it is just the child in you.
Ain’t nobody gunna tell you that you cannot do the monkey bars, or swing on that swing.
Today, I’m thankful for Simple Life’s “I’m Just A Kid” for constantly reminding me that I, Aichan Tewahade, am just a kid (replace “Aichan Tewahade” with your own name, obviously…or don’t).
In this very moment, though it is something that I am working on, I have learned that living in doubt and internalizing other people’s opinions is one of the most detrimental things we can do to ourselves. In fact, it is toxic.
The opinions that others forumlate about other individuals are based on their own unique experiences with that person, or simply it is based on our own insecurities, or even our differences in morals and standards. Speaking about others negatively comes, as a result of pure insecurities and self-doubt. To a certain extent, speaking about others can come from a place of concern, and it does come from good intentions. However, we have all been put on this Earth to formulate our own opinions of people, and it should not solely be based on what others have heard or said. I truly believe that our formulations of others should be based on our own personal experiences with that person. Individuals, such as myself, struggle with the insecurities of seeking self-acceptance from other individuals, especially strangers.
The game “telephone,” an activity that I practiced while attending Montessori school allowed me to realize that while rumors are inevitable, you truly should not invest time letting others perception distort your own personal happiness. If you are unfamiliar with this activity, it involves a group of people, and requires someone to pass on either a phrase, word, or rumor onto the person adjacent to you. You continue this until the second-to-last person passes the message onto the last individual, who is sitting next to the individual, who initiated the message. By the time you have passed on the message onto the third person, the original message has already become distorted. As you can imagine, by the last person, the initial message has become so distorted that there is no semblence to the original message. The message is essentially skewed and completely different from the intial statement, phrase, or word that the original message was. The “telephone game” serves as a constant reminder that the less you listen and invest time towards internalizing the opinions of others, the happier you will be. From personal experience, I truly struggle with this often, though I put on a strong front, but it is nothing you should be ashamed of.
Listen and believe in yourself, which is easier said than done. I can also attest to this. Do not let self-doubt cloud your mind, and while there will be tough days, know that the thoughts of others does not define the person you are.
Continue to believe in yourself. Self-doubt will always be a relevant factor, but know your self-worth, and these words do not define yourself. Trust me, this is one of my biggest struggles and insecurities that I struggle with daily, and it is not a n easy task, but try to keep your head up and do what you love.
A way that I cope with these insecurities is contuining to live my life to my best abilities, contuining to complete my obligations, and learning to be kind on myself. My hardest challenge is realizing that I may be embarrased or make people uncomfortable, but it is important to stear clear of these underlying insecurities. Our circumstances, our upbringings, our experiences, and our behsviots all shape the way that we are able to cope with rumors, or perhaps bullying, or harrassment. Do not let these factors, people, strangers, or any for that matter, stop you from living your life. My best coping mechanism is challenging myself to my best of my ability, and while I personally am dealing with my own challenges related to the article, I continue to put my best effort into investing time enjoying my life, rather than focusing on the judgements that others make about others.
Of course, sometimes I slip up and make impulsive, unhealthy decisions, know that engaging in these activities is not something that should be used as a crutch. You are stronger, wiser, and more powerful than you seem I am guilty as charged for recently coping with habits that I know are not beneficial, and it has even been a challenge for me to take the less road traveled on. It is a process, and we are all human.