Out of the thousands of hobbies I could have chosen, I ended up with what others might think I’m too old for. Here’s why
As a kid, I spent most of my free time reading books and playing with toys. I was obsessed with stuffed animals. Of course, I fully expected myself to gradually outgrow my love for toys as I entered my teenage years, and subsequently, adulthood.
I pictured my adult self as someone who would spend her weekends at malls shopping for the prettiest bags and accessories my mom and older sisters had. I even thought I’d be out partying most of the time and spending most of my money on these things. But my current reality doesn’t even come close to that.
Here I am, at 22, collecting those mini blind box figures called Sonny Angels and reveling in my short-lived childhood sticker obsession that somehow resurfaced when I was 17. Many of the older adults around me have told me time and time again how useless these interests of mine are. “Ano ka, bata (What are you, a child)?” I’d hear them say.
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Because of these constant remarks, I thought perhaps that I was just immature. “Maybe I need to grow up and actually have hobbies that people my age normally do,” I considered. For a time, I even stopped talking about my interests out of fear that people would think I was weird for liking Sonny Angels and stickers at my age.
But who were they to speak about my interests like that anyway?
On Healing My Inner Child
Still though, I thought long and hard about why I developed these interests in the first place. I had access to the toys I liked as a kid, so I ruled out the “healing your inner child” phenomenon I’ve been seeing a lot on social media. But just recently, I realized that it might actually be just that.
@dyamhelzhanv may this video be a reminder that you’re never too old to heal your inner child. 🥺✨❤️ to my other half, @mcbeal thank you for supporting me in all that I do. Ilysm🦋💙 #innerchild #healing #innerchildhealing ♬ Nothing – Bruno Major
Contrary to what I had previously thought, healing your inner child by indulging in toys and stickers during adulthood doesn’t necessarily mean that you were deprived of these things when you were younger. It all boils down to mending the wounded parts of your childhood that you had been too young to fully process back then.
When I was around 7 years old, my parents went through a rough divorce. Whenever they argued, a huge chunk of my energy went to blocking the noise out and doing what I could to distract myself from it. At school, I spaced out, lost in thought about my situation at home- by the end of the day, I would barely have any notes from my lectures. I had gone from being an honor student to barely passing my classes.
Later that same year, my guidance counselor asked everyone in the class to jot down their Christmas wishlists. Everyone probably wrote about wanting Littlest Pet Shop sets and the latest gaming consoles at the time. But I had only written one thing on that orange piece of paper: “I wish for my parents to get back together.”
At that age, I should have been thinking about what toys I wanted for the holidays. Instead, I was worrying about the fact that I’d begin to see one of my parents less and less. While I did receive a lot of new toys that Christmas, no gift could have ever helped me forget that I’d no longer have both parents to come home to every day.
I don’t know why it took me so long, but I only started processing all these feelings recently. After connecting some dots that were hiding in plain sight, I realized that I could have never unearthed and confronted the gashes of my childhood if not for the hobbies I turned to in adulthood. I thought I got into these hobbies for the fun of it, not knowing that the moment I took a liking to them, I was already working on healing my inner child.
Acceptance and Action
It was never about being denied the material things I wanted when I was younger. Rather, it was about me being a kid back then but being unable to enjoy being one.
I’m making up for that now. I already have an entire wall of Sonny Angels—and I had only begun to collect them this year. Unwrapping each box and ripping their foil wrappers open without knowing what character I’m about to pull out never fails to excite me, even though I’ve done it over thirty times now. Owing to the revival of my past sticker addiction, every crevice of my gadgets, notebooks, and even my asthma inhaler, has all been sticker bombed. Even just looking at my Sonny Angels and my sticker collection makes me happy.
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While I now finally have the privilege of fully enjoying these things, it did not come without enduring the discomfort of reliving the memories I worked so hard to forget over the years. But that’s what healing your inner child is all about. It isn’t going to be easy, but acknowledging your pain and taking action to confront it—even by just a little—is extremely rewarding.
So, don’t be embarrassed to like the things that you do. Be proud of yourself for trying to understand your complexities as an individual. If collecting blind box figures or decorating your belongings with cute stickers help you tap into your unresolved feelings, then who’s to say that you should find different interests?