I get it. Getting older sucks. Bills to pay, jobs to work, responsibilities to fulfill. Believe me, I cringe every month when writing the check to my student loan companies (Sallie Mae, I hate you. I hate you with the passion of a thousand fiery burning suns). My car payment isn’t my favorite thing in the world, either. As a full time grad student and sales consultant, I fully comprehend the daily grind. However, I’ve found in the past few months, that letting loose and acting like a kid during my free time is rather refreshing.
I’ve found that most adults show flashes here and there of the kid they once were, before straightening up and almost looking sheepish that they let loose. WHY DO WE DO THIS TO OURSELVES? Sure, this probably sounds like a bunch of psychobabble from someone who’s far from qualified, but let’s think about this logically. How many nights did you lie awake as a child, fretting over when your next paycheck was coming in, or how you were going to finish that huge project for work on time? How much fun do you have, looking back nostalgically on the days when the biggest decision you had to make was which flavor ice cream you wanted to scarf that day? Now, I’m not saying we should all go shirking our responsibilities for the sake of living carefree and without stress. That would be ill-advised. I’m simply questioning why more people don’t take pleasure in the little things that made us happy as kids. Why do so many of us keep our inner child on a leash? Have you ever seen a kid on a leash? It’s rifuckingdiculous.
To prove my point even further, that leashed child in the picture HAS A MONKEY ON HIS BACK, similarly to most adults who refuse to let themselves get silly from time to time. Whether it be debt, a nagging significant other, a pain in the ass boss, or a job that you loathe, there will always be challenges that need to be faced. That doesn’t mean you need to let it suck the life out of you. Here’s what I propose: BE SILLY. GET GOOFY. HAVE FUN. I won’t touch on what exactly brought me to this realization, but I can say, acting like a kid has certainly destressed my life. Sure, I’ve got deadlines and homework and sales goals to meet, but I’ve also got a piece of my sanity back.
I’ve found that my inner child thoroughly enjoys:
- Swinging on Swings (and monkeying around on other playground equipment). Sure, it may have thrown my equilibrium out of whack and made me a bit nauseous, but it was FUN. My ass might fit a bit more snugly on those swings than it did 15 years ago, and the slide may be made for people with hips smaller than mine, but who cares? It’s a blast.
- Making Out Like a Teenager. Simply underrated, if you ask me. How many adults take the time to do this? Most sprint right past this part of the program and head straight to the part where everyone’s naked. There’s something wholesome and fun and exciting about keeping it PG.
- Coloring. And no, I’m not talking about the Samantha Jones from Sex and the City’s version of coloring. I mean lying on your belly, on the floor, with a gigantic box of Crayolas and a coloring book. Mindless entertainment? Yes. Hours of underrated fun? Absolutely.
- Ordering like a 5 Year Old. You heard me. I am completely unashamed of ordering a grilled cheese or hot dog off the kids’ menu from time to time, and washing it down with a glass of chocolate milk. And yes, I do want the toy out of that damn happy meal, thank you.
- Laughing Until it Hurts. You heard me, the type of giggle fit that leaves your sides sore, your eyes watering, and your lungs begging for a full breath. Laughter is something adults often take for granted, but kids let out often and freely. The sillier and goofier the thing you’re laughing about, the better.
- Playing Catch. It’s repetitive and it’s simple, but it’s FUN. Conversation tends to flow freely when you’re just tossing a ball back and forth.
- Pulling Pranks on the Unsuspecting. Sure, calling someone to ask if their refrigerator is running or moving their car to another lot when they leave their keys unguarded is immature, but it’s also hilarious.
- Staring at the Stars. When is the last time you just sat on a roof somewhere, taking in the night sky? You can’t remember? I highly suggest changing that. There’s something awe-inspiring about star-gazing, trying to remember which constellations they taught you at the planetarium in grade school.
In no way do I fancy myself a modern day Peter Pan, but I’m also learning the value of sometimes ignoring the constant “duty” of being a “grownup.” If we’re only as young as we feel, I plan to be forever young.