Netflix series Old Enough! is the ultimate antidote to stress and doomscrolling

Switch off your phone and watch this instead

Pic: Lisa Ferguson
Pic: Lisa Ferguson

I’ve developed a doomscrolling habit.

When terrible things happen in the world, the brain craves as much detail as possible, as knowledge is self protection, I suppose.

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I’m carving a path on my phone screen, like a record groove, where my index finger has been skimming against the glass, in order to flick to the next Ukraine, Bo-Jo, Covid, climate or cost of living update.

This kind of activity becomes a bit pointless when there’s nothing you can do to help, and you’re only wearing your own adrenals down to the bare nubs.

Sometimes it’s good to take a break, especially since April is Stress Awareness Month 2022.

You can let the organisers know that I have found an antidote to high cortisol levels.

This panacea does not involve yoga, The Wim Hof Method, meditation, or stockpiling Easter eggs when you don’t have any kids to use as a front.

It’s the series, Old Enough!, which has been running since 1991 in Japan as Hajimete no Otsukai (My First Errand), but has just arrived on Netflix.

This programme follows tiny children aged two to four going for messages, and is, I suppose, one of these ‘slow’ television series, though not quite as glacial as Bob Ross’s The Joy of Painting.

I usually watch bloodthirsty stuff about cartels or zombies, so this is a change of pace.

In the first episode, a tiny boy goes to a supermarket, about a kilometre away, to get some flowers and groceries. He does it and it feels like a miracle.

In the second, a four-year-old is sent home to make mandarin juice for his family, but ends up faffing about, hiding under a table to get away from ghosts and eating the lunch that was meant for later. I feel a great affinity with him.

Amusingly, the series is rated PG for dangerous behaviour. I suppose they don’t really want children to watch it and copy the stars, who always have a surreptitious television crew on hand in case of emergencies.

Anyway, their behaviour and that of the adults around them is a reminder of what is nice about humans. I’d forgotten.

Take a break from doomscrolling and watch.

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