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I saw a TikTok recently in which a user stated that she lives by the rule of pleasing only two people: her 8-year-old self and her 80-year-old self.

This brought me to the realization that I have been trying to do this recently without even knowing it. I’ve been specifically trying to channel my 8-year-old self, as recently I feel as though I’ve lost her along the way.

When things get hard to the point where we lose our senses of self-identity, of what makes us happy, of what makes us tick, the only thing we have to look to is our past selves. I’ve kind of had a toxic relationship with my past, which is something I’ve been trying to work on. I’m always reminiscing in such a sad, hopeless way. I feel like I’ll never be as happy as I was when I was a kid, I’ll never get that spark back, I’ll never be that hopeful again. We often accept that the older we get, the harder things get because we are less ignorant, less imaginative, less innocent.

But why? I’m choosing not to accept that fate anymore. Of course, I’ll never know what it’s like to be a kid again, but that doesn’t mean I have to give that part of myself up. I think the pandemic has matured us all a little bit. It’s taken away our hope, our magic, in some ways.

Through the struggles I’m going through currently, I’m trying to rediscover who I used to be. What did she like to do? What made her happy? How can I honor her?

She liked to sing. She loved to spend hours singing karaoke in her room or playing the piano downstairs. She was constantly writing songs and pretending she was a famous artist.

She liked to write. She spent her free time writing story after story on her Mom’s computer.

She liked making people laugh and smile. She loved reading books for hours on end and listening to songs on her stereo. She liked spending time with her family and playing games with her brother.

Her relationship with the internet was healthy. It wasn’t toxic. She spent her time watching tutorials on YouTube and being inspired by others who were encouraging. There wasn’t any comparison or anxiety.

The biggest thing I’ve realized in my self-help journey is that I don’t do those things I liked to do anymore. I focus so much energy into my image, my future, the way others perceived me. None of my free time goes into just things that I solely enjoy for myself. Even when I do entertain my hobbies, it’s usually so I can share the results. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I’ve lost that 8-year-old side of me who is whimsical and creative just for the sake of herself.

Here are some ways to channel your 8-year-old self, which will hopefully improve your life and lead you to happiness you forgot you had:

  1. Treat Yourself – When I was a kid and I was sad, my mom would take me to get a chocolate shake. I’ve started to do that for myself again. It’s hard to remember, like I said, at the worst times what is going to get you back up. Go back to what is familiar and be kind to yourself as if you are a kid.
  2. Enjoy your old hobbies – What did 8-year-old you like to do? I’ve personally started playing the piano, singing, and dancing again. I’ve found that these are all extremely theraputic especially when I’m feeling burnt-out or depressed. They bring me a sense of creativity again.
  3. Find joy in the little things – Remember how excited you used to get when you were a kid? Bring that part of you out again. Be curious, imaginative. Wonder and ponder like you used to. I’ve learned to start taking joy in my routines and the small interactions I have that make up my day.
  4. Take out toxic things – 8-year-old me didn’t have social media. That doesn’t mean I need to delete it, but laying off a little bit isn’t going to hurt. Cutting back on social media has led me to be more present and observant, like I used to be.

I’m hoping to continue channeling 8-year-old me and discover more of 20-year-old me. It’s good to finally stop treating nostalgia so negatively and instead use it to bring joy to myself every day.

Xo,

Sophie

Sophie Dominguez

Illinois State '23

Junior at Illinois State University majoring in English & Public Relations! Follow me on Insta @sophieannadominguez <3
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