The fountain of youth, the elixir of life. People have killed for it, quested for it, and allowed it to consume them. It has been incorporated into legends and modern myths (i.e. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade…. anybody? Anybody?!). I discovered my version of the fountain of youth in an old journal I wrote during my time in the Dominican Republic. Scanning through it’s pages I came across this gem:
“I have found the fountain of youth. It is the ability to retain the hope of childhood as a mindset.”
There you have it.
As children we believe we can do anything. The world is limitless. Every door is wide open but, unfortunately, as we grow older the doors tend to start shutting and all we’re left with are a few paths and the belief that things have to be a certain way. But they don’t. More doors are open than we believe. Likewise, as we get older we often become jaded and wrapped up in the day-to-day struggle of paying bills and simply getting by. I know, I’ve been there and my guess is you have too.
So how do you bring the hope of childhood back?
1) Have a conversation with 6…7…8 year old you
Remember who you were when you were a kid. What did you want to be? What did you dream about? What terrified you? What would your younger self think of who you’ve become? When I was 7 I was planning on being an artist… or a monkey. I fervently believed I was magic and told people so. I was absolutely petrified of aliens. Now, when I need reassurance or need to know what step I should take next, I reach inside and talk to my inner child. If it’s a decision that she would jump up and down and throw a party for, I know I’m on the right path.
2) Embrace curiosity
Look at the world as a child. Again this goes with focusing on the present moment. Stop worrying about all the shit you have to do. Stop overthinking things. Just be. Explore. Play. Be amazed by the beauty that exists in the ordinary. When I was little I could spend hours building forts, strolling the ranch I lived on, watching water bugs swim, and picking berries. Try and return to that time. Ask questions and see where they take you.
3) Believe that anything is possible
This is easier said then done. However, once you allow yourself to dream and imagine what is possible then you can begin exploring how to get there. I’ve definitely had times where negativity overwhelmed me and I felt like I’d be stuck the rest of my life working a coffee shop job that never paid me on time and being miserable (deep breath). If you’re in that place, that’s when you desperately need to dream big and begin seeing the alternatives.
How do you embrace the mindset of childhood?