Ice Cream for Breakfast is all about author Laura Jane Williams’ learnings from giving up her job as a writer and journalist – a job that was so all-consuming that it had caused burn-out – and becoming a nanny for nine months. What Laura learned was not about escaping your problems, but instead learning to live in the moment and rediscovering the joys of your inner child. From laughing, to not caring what people think, and letting your emotions out, you can approach life in much calmer and happier way. There is, she says, a lot to learn from a child’s approach to life.
This book is an absolute joy from start to finish. Unlike the other ‘business books’ or life-improving content out there I didn’t feel like Laura was bossing me about and telling me how to live my life. Instead, Laura’s story is passionate and inspirational, and really did make me consider how in my own life I could approach things in a different way by unlocking my inner child.
Essentially it is all about changing our mentality to problems, situations, challenges and daily occurrences. Instead of allowing ourselves to get bogged down in our “bullshi*t adult problems”, we should instead apply a new lens. A lens that gives ourselves permission to slow down, laugh more, find joy in small things, and generally live a little bit more in the moment. Yes, adult life is hard, and yes, working adult life is even harder, but we make it 100 times worse by allowing ourselves to slip into joyless existence and just plod along. I’m not saying here that we shouldn’t allow ourselves to have a bad day – and neither is Laura – instead, its recognising that yes, today/this moment/that email/that discussion was sh*t, but I’m going to dust myself down and not let it bother me as much as before.
It’s about letting ourselves feel those emotions so that we can get them out and move on. Children do just this. How often have you watched a child have a complete melt down over not getting what they want or having to share, and then two minutes later be happy occupying themselves with something else?
However, Laura is very clear in the beginning of the book that she is not encouraging childish behaviour. Childish behaviour is generally annoying and an immature way to go about life. No, what we are being encouraged to embrace is childlike behaviour. Behaviour that is energetic, enthusiastic, brave and pretty great to be around.
There is a lot to learn from Laura’s story but here are the four of the most pertinent points – points that I have already tried to take on board:
- Find time for laughter
Laughter is good for you. Fact. Letting ourselves enjoy moments and find the time to laugh can decrease stress hormones and trigger the release of endorphins. Children laugh all the time, so why can’t we. Sure, it’s probably not appropriate in a serious business meeting but there are so many opportunities in life to laugh so we should seek them out and enjoy the moment more.
- Make the mundane fun
As adults we default to simply just plodding through each day, getting to the end and reaching the weekend. As Laura puts it, “we are so busy living that we forget to be alive”, so it is important that we declare more moments to be special. I myself struggle with Tuesdays. For me, they are no man’s land; it’s not the beginning, middle or end. But instead of letting myself just get through the mundanity of Tuesday, I treat it like a special day and buy myself a treat – usually in cake form – that brightens up the day and gives me a reason to enjoy it more.
- Sleep can cure all
We are continuously being told that we need to ensure we get enough sleep, both for health and wellness reasons. And that is because it is true! To be great at life, to enjoy it more and have fun, we need energy – sleep creates energy. So sleep, and sleep for enough time to feel good.
- Stop being too polite to ask GOOD questions
Being curious and learning new things from each other is a joy but we are often too polite to ask questions sometimes. Or sometimes it is because we do not want to ask a question in case we don’t look cool. Forget not looking cool, its way cooler to be good at conversation and make informed decisions. So next time you have a question, a question that is bugging you and you can’t find the answer by asking yourself, ask.
And, if that hasn’t all encouraged you to go away and buy this book, I have one final quote from Laura to pass on:
“Life is a bitch – there’s no doubt about that. She’s a curious, conniving, backstabbing asshole who raises you up to shoot you down and that’s just how it is. Ups, and downs, and the rain always comes – but then so, too, does the rainbow.”
Let’s all find the rainbow.