Remembering Your Childhood Dreams Can Boost Your Happiness

“You’re never too old to access those dreams that drove you to make a microphone out of your hairbrush, build a ladder to the sky out of the pillows from your bed, or make a spaceship out of old boxes in the garage.”

Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock
Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock

Our earliest inclinations in life are good indicators of our strengths and, ultimately, the kind of work that brings us joy. While you might think that flying to the moon, becoming a rock star, or playing professional hockey are a little unrealistic at this point in your life, that’s OK.

Tailoring your dreams to fit your life right now — joining a garage band, signing up for the regional hockey league, or coaching a kid’s team — can go a long way toward creating the joy you’ve been longing for.

Let’s put everything that “real life” tells us to do aside for a spell and get back to our real selves. Peter Pan, the boy who never grew up, said, “Once you grow up, you can never come back.” I disagree! You’re never too old to access those dreams that drove you to make a microphone out of your hairbrush, build a ladder to the sky out of the pillows from your bed, or make a spaceship out of old boxes in the garage. Imagination is a powerful tool. Dust it off!


When we let our dreams go, we let part of ourselves go with them. We get grumpy. We get angry and resentful. We start to assume things will never work out for us. We have an empty spot in our hearts that never feels full, no matter what we do.

“The tragedy of life is in what dies inside a man while he lives.”

— Norman Cousins

The little rock star grew up. He went to school, he got a job, he started a family. The guitar he played as a teenager gathered dust in the same garage he used to practice in, until eventually, it was sold or stashed in the attic (figuratively and literally).

So here you are, 25 years later. The lawyer/developer/marketer/care- taker, chained to your desk, your life duties, commitments, financial responsibilities and, perhaps, your childhood dreams. I ask you this: When was the last time you picked up a guitar? How would you feel if you bought yourself a new one, took lessons on YouTube, or formed a garage band with your buddies who feel the same way? It’s okay to nurture your decadent, ridiculous, childish whims! Hello! Are you still in there? Maybe you won’t become the next Eddie Van Halen, but what about taking a few lessons? Sound ridiculous? Fabulous! It should! It will nurture your soul in a way you can’t imagine and clearly haven’t dared to dream of doing!

Perhaps when you go to work on Monday, you’ll have a skip in your step or a smile on your face that just wasn’t there before.

The goal here is to create balance, dig deep and tap into the things that give you a sense of accomplishment, satisfaction and stimulation. Find activities that simply make you happy while getting back in touch with your true self.

Excerpt from Re:Invent Your Life! What are You Waiting For? with permission from the author and publisher.

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