Back when my friend Rachel and I were planning our podcast, The Table Chat Show, we noticed quickly that we both shared the same childhood haircut. The same, straight-across the forehead bangs. The type of haircut that your mom gives you on the back porch, preferably shirtless, with one simple pair of scissors. I laughed so hard at this because it’s such a vivid memory. I can smell the scent of the strawberry, Suave shampoo, feel the water droplets running down my back, and hear my mom shouting at me to “HOLD STILL!”
It’s simple memories like those that I hold near and dear to my heart. It’s also a haircut I’d rather soon forget. Thankfully I’ve moved passed those days, but it also reminded me of the carefree life of being a kid.
My childhood was far from gourmet and I’m ok with that. As my mom would also say, “you turned out JUST FINE.” We ate a lot of spaghetti, hot dogs wrapped in Pillsbury crescent rolls, doctored up cake mixes with help from the actual Cake Mix Doctor, bologna sandwiches, fruit roll-ups, my German grandmother’s noodle kugel, Domino’s take-out specials, and meatloaf, so much meatloaf. I actually still eat some of those foods (meatloaf for life), I just put my own spin on them.
With the world of Instagram and all social media, it’s easy to get caught up thinking all of your meals need to be perfectly placed, perfectly portioned, and perfectly perf-perfect. Too many perfects. I think if my 4-year old self had an Instagram, I’d probably have pictures of my comic book collection and the Oreos I had as a snack (which actually sounds like the present version of my Instagram).
But what does “perfect” Instagram worthy eating really look like? For starters, there’s no such thing, and second, health looks different for everyone. Crescent roll wrapped hot dogs and noodle kugel included, there’s room for a lot of different food in the diet and to still be a “healthy” individual! What matters most, and I have to keep reminding my clients about this, is how we approach the day. Not everyday will be the same, and sometimes you’re not going to be in the mood for that salad you planned for dinner. So eat what you truly want, savor it, and move on with your life.
If you think back to when you were a kid, like me in the picture above, you didn’t care about diets and eating “perfectly.” You were, in that very moment, most likely happy with your life. You had pages to color, people to meet, and most of all, many new things to learn and place to explore. You didn’t have time to let negative thoughts cloud your brain. Your life was carefree. While we can’t transport ourselves back to childhood, take the time to tap into your inner-child from time to time.
+ Explore more. As adults, we tend to focus on learning to solve urgent problems. A child, on the other hand, doesn’t have pressing problems that need immediate solving. They’re focused on exploring possibilities and options. For adults, trying new things will make you think in different ways!
+ Be mindful. Mindfulness is the practice of being in the present moment, and children are naturally engaged and present with the world. They’re living and experiencing life as it is with whatever comes their way. Take some time each day to bring some mindfulness into your life, like paying attention to your breath. Even if it’s just for a minute. Take a walk and notice how your body moves – legs, feet, arms, muscles. Prepare a meal from start to finish, cutting, slicing, and dicing ingredients one by one.
+ Do something just for fun. Kids don’t have agendas, only unless they’re told to do something. They also just do things because they want to. When was the last time you did something for no good reason other than you just wanted to do it? Go treat yourself to a pedicure, go see a movie by yourself, or go enjoy that ice cream cone because you want to, and you’re a damn adult who doesn’t have to ask mom for money.