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Many people struggle with the weight of being an adult. There’s a lot of tedious work and responsibility required to have a decent present and a better future.
Not everyone adapts to that change well.
Some people walk into adulthood with no real knowledge of how to function as an adult. Their parents may have been too permissive and not taught them about the expectations the adult world puts on someone.
Still, other people long for a happy childhood they never had. Traumatic experiences can strike anyone of any age. Some grow up in homes that were not healthy with troubled parents who could not love them in the way that they deserved.
No matter what the reason, one cannot spend their time longing for a past that no longer exists and will not exist again. Doing so robs you of the potential to find joy in the present.
Peace and happiness are things that you must create for yourself, and you just can’t do that while living in the past.
How do you stop missing your childhood? Let’s look at ten reasons you miss your childhood and how you can cultivate more happiness in the present.
1. Adulthood feels overwhelming and confusing.
Life as an adult can be overwhelming and confusing because there is just so much to the world that you have to figure out yourself.
Did your parents teach you how to pay taxes? Change a car tire or check your oil? Make doctor’s appointments for yourself? Budget your finances? Cook a meal? Apply for jobs? Shop for groceries?
Even if your parents were terrific, there will be gaps in your knowledge that you will have to fill by yourself. There’s just no getting around the fact that some life lessons you have to learn the hard way.
The good news is that you have access to the internet! If you have questions, someone else has more than likely answered those questions somewhere on the internet.
When you feel lost or overwhelmed, try searching your question’s exact text on YouTube or your search engine of choice. Chances are pretty good that you’ll at least find some information on where to start, even if you don’t find the exact answer that you’re looking for.
2. Adult relationships are harder than child relationships.
Child relationships are generally less messy than adult relationships. Sure, bullying happens, siblings can be cruel, and parents can be unhealthy and destructive.
But if you’ve been blessed with a relatively peaceful and happy upbringing, then you probably haven’t spent a whole lot of time in conflict with other people.
A childhood friendship can be as simple as, “Oh, look! A new friend!” And off they go to play. They don’t necessarily look at all the qualifiers and divisions that society has ingrained.
Plus, adult relationships can be hard to maintain when families, jobs, and the tribulations of life have to be dealt with.
Sometimes, you just don’t have time to nurture your adult relationships and keep them healthy. You can’t always drop everything to hang out with a friend because the kids need to be fed, and you have to be at work in the morning.
This is a difficult one to navigate because it requires effort from friends as well. Simply put, everyone just has to take the time to keep the relationships healthy.
Schedule a game night once or twice a month. Have lunch with a friend every so often. Look for new friends by looking into a new hobby or social groups.
The healthier you can keep your adult relationships, the less you will miss your childhood relationships.
3. Childhood was simply better than adulthood.
Adulthood may just be bad for you right now, and you’ll need to take steps to change it. Wages are stagnating, expectations can be unreasonable, the landlord won’t fix the electrical socket that doesn’t work.
Just living is expensive, especially if you live in a high cost country or area, or you don’t know how to make your money work for you well.
Being an adult can be a real drag because you have to make all of your decisions for yourself. You may long for your childhood where you didn’t have to make so many overwhelming decisions.
Sure, money can’t buy happiness, but it sure does provide some leverage to get that door open. It’s kind of hard to be happy when your stomach is snarling, and you don’t if you should pay rent or the car note.
Look for ways you can improve your position. Look into local job and training opportunities through social services offices. Look into higher education. Look into what it would take to advance your current job to a position that pays better.
It stinks that money is so important and seems so hard to come by, but the sooner you start attacking that problem, the faster you can get it under control.
4. You may not have had a real opportunity to experience childhood.
The world is a rough place, and children are not immune to that. Some parents mean well but just don’t do a good job with raising their children. And then some parents do not mean well and do terrible things to their children.
Some people long for an innocent childhood that they never had a chance to experience.
The problem with that is it’s an unreasonable, unattainable goal. It can even venture into the arena of maladaptive daydreaming, where a person spends so much time in the fantasy world they create in their mind that their present suffers.
Time spent dwelling on the unattainable is time that could have been spent developing new skills, looking for new social contacts, and generally working for a better future.
At some point, you have to accept that life didn’t deal you the best hand during your childhood. And you just have to find a way to play the hand that you’re currently holding in a way that makes sense for your life.
5. You’ve detached from your sense of curiosity and wonder.
As a child, the world is a big and fascinating place. There is always something to explore, something to learn, something new to see.
But after you’ve been on the grind as an adult for a while, life can really start to lose its luster.
That sense of curiosity can wane as you learn more and more. Not only is it familiarity, but it’s also dealing with the disappointment once you start seeing some of the ugly truth behind things.
Falling in love with present life is easier if you can reconnect with your sense of curiosity and wonder. There are a few different ways you can go about that.
Take some classes or courses on a subject that interests you, but that you’re unfamiliar with. Deep dive into the subject and look for all of the interesting nuances and details that really make that subject what it is.
Reacquaint yourself with nature. Nature is amazing when you sit down to consider it. Find yourself a patch of nature, sit, and take it all in.
Consider the animals moving around, the plants you can see, the breeze you can feel, the way the sun illuminates everything. Consider how it all interacts. Consider your place in the world and universe.
Use it as a form of meditation to pull your mind from the drag and responsibility of life to the present moment, where you’re at, what you’re experiencing.
Let yourself experience wonder for the questions you can’t answer – and then go look for answers later!
6. You’re overworked and underappreciated.
A longing for one’s childhood is a type of maladaptive coping mechanism called escapism. A significant cause for seeking out escapism is incredible stress and feeling unappreciated.
So, the right connection to make is to look for ways to reduce your workload and increase appreciation.
That can mean a few different things.
Is it your job or boss? Maybe it’s time to start looking for other opportunities or a career change if you don’t like how your work makes you feel.
Is it your friendships? Maybe you’re doing too much emotional labor for people who are not returning that favor and providing you with the support you need. You might need to draw some healthier boundaries to ensure you’re not being taken care of.
Is it your relationship? Are you and your partner putting in the right effort to keep your relationship happy and healthy? Are you spending quality time together? Do you split the responsibilities of life in a way that makes sense for you?
7. You haven’t learned to evolve and grow your relationships.
You may be missing your childhood memories because you have not learned how to grow and evolve your relationships as you advance through life.
As a child, you have a dependent relationship with your parent, who is supposed to love, protect, and shelter you from harm.
But as you grow up, the nature of that relationship with your parents and relatives changes. You become an adolescent and start looking to spread your wings in the world. You’re struggling for some more independence and trying to figure out what kind of person you are.
That continues through your teens with the additional bonus of puberty, a peaceful and comfortable time for all! And then finally to adulthood, where you are thrust into the other adults’ role and responsibilities in the room.
Each of those transitions in life changes how you relate to and interact with the people around you. You’re not going to have the same relationship you had as a child with your parents that you do as an adult.
It grows and changes, and you have to evolve with it. Eventually, your parents may come to rely on you to help take care of them as they get older and face the challenges of aging.
Work on and develop those relationships. Learn and try to see your family members as people, rather than just mom and dad, aunt and uncle, grandma and grandpa, or siblings.
Be curious and find ways to connect with them in ways that make sense now, in the present.
8. You have traumatic experiences or mental health issues that have not been addressed.
Traumatic experiences don’t just disappear into a vapor. All traumatic experiences stick with you somehow, and they can have a big effect on how you interact with the world.
A person who comes from a traumatic childhood may spend their time longing for and fantasizing for the childhood they didn’t have because they haven’t had the opportunity to process and heal.
It may also be a form of escapism to get away from a problematic present brought on by life’s struggles or one’s mental health.
There is no easy solution for that. Addressing and healing those issues is something that you’ll need to do with a certified mental health professional. Many effective trauma treatment options can help you process your pain and create your peace and happiness now, in the present.
Don’t let your life pass you by living in the past. If you’re having a hard time in the present, look into professional support that can help you get to the root of the issue, heal it, and develop better habits.
Still not sure how to stop missing your childhood so much? Speak to a therapist today who can walk you through the process. Simply click here to connect with one of the experienced therapists on BetterHelp.com.
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