A few years back my daily activities including hanging out with some of the coolest kids around. We went on adventures to the zoo, baseball games, and toured around Alberta’s mountain areas. Often times the children and youth I got to hang out with were part of programming which gave them the opportunity to try new things out like children’s yoga or participate in their favourite activities like swimming and bowling. It has been years since I have spent multiple days in a row with a single (or multiple) child(ren).
Over the last couple weeks I got to do just that. I hung out with a really great friends child for a few days. We went on backyard adventures and stayed in pyjama’s all day long while we watch movies and played imaginary games indoors. I forgot how much I enjoyed sharing my time with children. Their minds work in ways I wish my education did not steal from me. There was never a moment when this young child’s mind was stifled by the reality that each action has a reaction and that it will impact her life to come. She never stopped to wonder if spending two hours watching a movie could be better spent reading a book or responding to emails.
The experience sparked something in me. It reminded me that it is not without creativity that we get through each and every day. Even things like the direction of my research requires a certain degree of creativity. That each workout plan requires creativity in order for it to stay fresh and exciting. This young child also reminded me that it is more than okay to play and get dirty. Going home with mud down my pants was perhaps the best feeling I have had in months. I was being a kid, not worrying about my white socks turning slightly brown (not to mention I have approximately 24 new pairs of white socks waiting to warm and protect my feet) or my pants needing to be washed after one wear. I was alive again!
Even greater, because things seem to all be fitting together well these days, it reminded me how much I enjoyed recreational therapy versus traditional counselling. The ability to play outdoors, to engage in imagination while learning life lessons, and the importance of life skills such as cooking is exactly how I want to pursue my career.
For me, the past days have reignited my love of working with children and youth. It has been a reminder that although my skills can take me in various directions this is the direction my heart desires, at least for right now. Others have noticed it to. Today as I walked into my building and was checking my mail the building maintenance worker said that I looked less stressed and happier. Knowing that others can witness the benefit of the changes I have made in my life reminds me that I have made the right decisions, on so many levels.
For you: this week I suggest reflecting back a few years (or more) and thinking about the one career or activity that made your heart smile. What was it? What did you enjoy most? Are you still engaged in that activity? If not, can you make a change so it can become apart of your life again? I encourage you to make that change or find a way to incorporate it into your current lifestyle. I think you will find your cheekbones a little more tender from all the smiling!