I was sitting at one of my new favorite local coffee shops here in Austin, Patika, and it finally dawned on me that this whole journey into holistic living, never really had a tipping point. It was more or less a slow crawl from one thing to the next until it finally became the main squeeze that it is now.
It started when I told my mom that I didn’t want to eat animals again because I felt bad that they had to die when I was a child. It started when I made the decision to take a year-long journey into world religions in high school. It started the first time I stepped on a yoga mat at thirteen. It started way before I realized it did, and that wasn’t only eye-opening, it was also reaffirming of everything that I wanted to do and continue to do with my life.
More often than not, as adults, if we are lucky, we become modified versions of ourselves as children. I’ve heard countless stories of people who spent their whole childhood playing pretend, making stories up in their heads, only to shift entirely into a financial career as adults, to then shift again later in life and write a best selling novel because they didn’t feel fulfilled in their previous work.
There seems to be some sort of correlation between who we were as children and who we become as adults. For example, my dad constantly fed me a few age-old adages like: “love what you do, so you’ll never have to work a day in your life, ‘be your own boss,’ and “work hard now and play later.” Throughout childhood, I would spend hours making up stories in my head, writing, drawing, coloring, and building little rooms out of cardboard and paper; now, as an adult, I work for myself as a freelance illustrator, writer, and designer—and despite somewhere in the middle rejecting my own creativity, I am much more of the person I was as a child, now than ever.
I am interested in holistic living because I used to take care of the kittens in my grandparent’s alleyway, and witnessed my grandfather donate money, time, and food to Native American reservations growing up. I care about the environment now because my grandmother recycled everything, and kept a garden in their backyard. Mental and physical health is important to me now because of my mother and father taking such good care of me emotionally and physically as children—they made me try every sport and cooked us meals that were wholesome and good. I am very much a product of my upbringing.
And while I know that I am extremely fortunate and privileged, I understand that not all have this experience—BUT, maybe, there is a way to cultivate that sort of magic inside of you, now—and look back at those moments that were happy and whole, and remind yourself of who you were as a kid.
I know this sounds extremely hopeful and optimistic, but I think somewhere inside of all of us, there is a child that is screaming to break free. I know this may sound hopeful and anecdotal or even trite, but maybe this will encourage you to explore a little bit more of yourself.
What were you like as a child? What did you do throughout your day to keep busy? Maybe that person is the truest version of yourself, and maybe it’s time to become a little bit more like who you were. Then again, if you were a shit child who did shit things and are now a good adult who does good things then maybe stay that good version of yourself and don’t resort to that shit version of you. I don’t know, I digress.
Painting by John William Waterhouse