Note to my younger self

Author Tania Ruelas

I was scrolling through work out videos on Pinterest, looking for some inspiration to get off the couch, and something caught my attention: this one video of a person crawling on the floor, and a big caption that read “The secret is to have fun, like you used to do it as a child”. That clickbait definitely worked on me, since I opened the link and paid attention to the trainer who encouraged all the viewers to have a child’s state of mind, which translated to the importance of enjoying more the exercise –just for fun- and worrying less about it being perfect.
That simple message got me wondering how much better would my life be if I could stop worrying about every single detail while practicing a hobby that I am supposed to be enjoying instead. I picture myself getting ready to make some drawings, for instance, and I can already feel anxious just to imagine the blank page and all the high expectations for whatever will come out of it. How did something as simple and fun as a daily hobby became stressful? And how has this affected me, and my skills?
When I was a kid, I used to be a great storyteller, and spent hours making drawings of my stories, dreaming that one day they would make it to the big screen. I was so sure, in fact, that the next Disney princess would come from one of my notebooks! …But then I grew up, and I was taught that my imagination was not as valuable as my academic attributes and skills. Also, I realized that there are people out there who are far better than me at drawing, if anything I am just good at imagining stories — but that was not a measurable and desirable skill… So, without realizing it, the fear of not being good nor valuable enough discouraged me to pursue my dream of becoming the next Walt Disney (although I did work for his company for a few years, but that is a story for another time!).
There is something about playing like a child and let our imagination run free that can truly make a difference in our lives. Even more, by enjoying the simple things we can also take the most out of the time we are given on this planet, as the beautiful poem by Linda Ellis explains: what matters most of all is the dash between our years (from birth to death), for that dash represents all the time we spent life on Earth. Oh, how important it is to live our ‘dash’ at its best!
Every once in a while, it is OK to leave our cares behind and mute that voice in the back of our head that is constantly criticising us. Even more, it is quite healthy to have the courage to do things that may be hard for us as adults, but any child would carelessly do, such as saying ‘hello’ to a stranger or participating in activities with our communities. We need to go back to our childhood and re-build some basic skills that got lost on the path of life.
If I could go back in time, and handle a note to my younger self, I would only tell her one thing: do not fade away. Stay with me, no matter what comes our way, just stay with the adult you will become one day, because she will need you until the last of her days.

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