Little Timmy looks around the tree.
Sally isn’t there.
She’s in a good spot.
Timmy keeps going to the bush. No Sally.
He keeps going.
He looks behind the fence, not there.
Under the slide? Nope.
If Timmy was and adult he’d be thinking, ‘Okay, this is bullshit, where could she be?’
But Timmy isn’t an adult. He’s a child. Doing what they do best. Exploring.
Eventually he finds her.
Then they start to play again. Its Timmy’s turn to hide.
Hours go by.
Years go by.
Now Timmy is an adult. And he’s still playing hide and seek. This time with himself.
The person he wants to be isn’t the person he is in reality.
Timmy is depressed. Life sucks. He’s a shell of a human.
Timmy went to school. He got told how to act. He listened.
Timmy went to college. ‘Better study hard and get good grades, otherwise no one will hire you!’. Timmy topped his class.
Timmy got a good job. ‘Now Tim, we need this from you by next week. You’re going to have to come in on the weekend.’ Sunday was his birthday. He went in anyway. That was 7-years ago.
He’s earning good cash. Got the house. A nice car. Even one of those new TV’s. The real thin one that looks like a mirror.
From the outside, everything seems great. But what’s missing?
As part of his program to feel better, Tim starts to write down what made him happy as a child.
He remembers back to the countless hours playing hide and seek with Sally. ‘Those were the days.’
6-weeks in to writing down his thoughts every day he realises he’s not living the life he imagined. He didn’t really know what kind of life he was living.
‘All this time, I was listening to others instead of listening to myself.’
He takes up a martial arts class down the street. It’s hard. He’s never been so sore.
He starts sharing some of his writing online. People are enjoying it. It makes him want to write more.
He leaves his job and starts studying again. This time the grades don’t matter. There are no exams. The reward is learning more, not a shiny certificate at the end.
Tim stops taking anti-depressants. The doctor says he should finish the tub he’s on. Too late, they’re already in the trash.
‘I’m feeling like little Timmy again,’ Tim writes down, ‘maybe I’ll call Sally.’
He calls Sally.
Sally remembers the times they used to play hide and seek together.
Tim tells her about his writing, the martial arts and his new job.
They go out to dinner.
Sally can relate. ‘When did we stop being kids?’
‘I don’t know.’
‘Everything happened so fast.’
At the end of the night, Tim kisses Sally. He always wanted to.
‘Where did that come from?’ Sally asks.
‘It’s been 27-years in the making.’
Sally smiles and leans back in.
Driving Uber for a year and working at the Apple Store, I had the pleasure of meeting thousands of people.
The ones who were most unhappy were the ones whose actions didn’t match their ambitions.
In other words, they were playing hide and seek with themselves. Except, they’d lost their child-like spirit of exploration.
It’s tiring to play a character. That’s why actors get paid so well.
Taking advice from others is helpful. But letting them live your life for you, isn’t.
Those who are most unhappy are those who don’t take on the challenge. The biggest of them all.
Listening to yourself.
It’s really hard to do. But the best part?
You know all your good hiding spots.