Honouring Your Inner Child & Finding a Hobby As An Adult

Words: Robyn Samuels

Life can sometimes get in the way of living. And if lockdown has taught us anything, it’s that finding and starting a hobby is one way to deal with life amidst the chaos – remember when we were all banana-bread-crazed and nursed sourdough starters? What a time!

But as life goes on, as it does, we grow older and leave parts of ourselves behind, and either ‘fall out of love with’ or don’t make time for the hobbies and passions that once fulfilled us. Has our ability to create new neural pathways, grapple with foreign concepts and nurture creativity been replaced with the joys of ‘adulting’…?

Neglecting hobbies and interests

Starting a hobby as an adult – Then vs. Now

In hindsight, living rent-free as a kid meant more time for designing Barbie doll clothes, painting, playing in the street with friends or transcribing lyrics from the latest cassette tape. When that no longer interested us, we moved on to the next hobby or extracurricular. Entertainment was endless, imaginations ran rampant and life was full of zest. So, is there a way back or are adults doomed and stuck in their ways?

Children are admired because of their unbridled joy; as much as they are influenced by parenting styles and upbringing, they are unapologetically themselves and unfiltered – one thing they have in common with older people. Children are encouraged to feed their innate curiosity and creative expression. There are obviously instances where some never fully experience or enjoy their childhood years because of traumatic events, or hobbies go unexplored due to financial limitations, strict upbringings; or parents vicariously living out desired hobbies through their children. I’m sure, some of you have experienced this.

honouring your inner child

But for the most part, when children create something, whether a poorly choreographed dance or a topsy-turvy crayon drawing, it’s applauded and proudly displayed on the fridge. Their ability to colour outside lines and not measure creative capabilities against technical skill and societal standards is laudable. The only hindrance for children and adults is being mocked and publicly humiliated – something that’s gotten progressively worse with the advent of social media and the insatiable need for validation.

But what if we created for self-contentment instead of validation?

Old Dogs Can Learn New Tricks

Researchers from the American Psychological Association performed a study that determined that age and recognition for creative hobbies are associated with fewer depressive episodes in middle-aged and older adults.

The study’s purpose was to determine the psychological benefits of having a creative hobby and actively pursuing it. They noticed a regression in depressive symptoms for participants with long-term creative hobbies. More interestingly, the results also indicated that middle-aged and older adults valued recognition over their self-perceived creative abilities.

However convincing the results, we don’t need a study to tell us this – we know this through experience. Whenever we exercise our minds creatively or nurture our passions, it feeds our well-being, relieves stress and anxiety, releases endorphins and gives us mental clarity.

According to Amos Institute, many lifestyle factors can help slow down cognitive decline and neurodegeneration.

Besides diet and exercise, which oxygenates the brain, starting a new creative hobby or learning a new skill could strengthen brain synapses. You don’t have to do a triathlon or learn Latin, but if you’ve always wanted to learn a language, play an instrument or just make more time to do things that help you channel creative energy, don’t stand in your own way.

Carving Out Time For Yourself

Having a 9-5, kids and responsibilities often get in the way, but you could start by taking 30 minutes out of your day to do something that sparks joy.

Whether it’s listening to a podcast or starting a podcast; exploring different cuisines in the kitchen or trying new restaurants; reading a chapter a day or journaling. It could be something adventurous like choosing a new hiking trail or something as seemingly mundane as collecting stamps – there are literally thousands of hobbies to pick from.

But what if you don’t have an obvious passion? While it may sound like you’re an unfulfilled or boring person, the beauty of not having a hobby is that you get to rediscover and explore your personal interests, which could reveal an entirely new side you never knew existed. So, if you’re wanting to honour your inner child or rediscover the importance of play as an adult, make sure to have fun and laugh at yourself along the journey.

Still haven’t found a hobby or community? Try these creative workshops in Cape Town

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