Monday, January 10, 2011

When did we Stop Acting like Kids?

Someone asked me this question the other day and I haven’t been able to shake it since.

When did we (most of us adults) stop acting like a little kid? Why did we do that? I mean in the sense of free will, carefree attitude, honesty, unconditional love kind of way. At what point do we make the decision to be less of all of that and more of serious, mature, stern, adults?

Great example of losing our inner kid - Is, Going, Gone.

Don’t blame it on jobs, kids, responsibilities. I do that enough for all of us. But honestly, look at some of the kids out there with one parent who can barely care for them, some with no roofs over their heads, some with only one guaranteed meal a day and that is if they go to school. They still act like kids.

They say kids are resilient. I’ve seen kids get over the worst kind of pain and misfortune and yet they are still kids at heart. I haven’t had to deal with half the crud they do and I still lost my inner kid.

Worse, have you ever caught yourself telling your kid to grow up, act mature or stop acting like a baby? Why do we have to mentally grow up and what does that really mean? Is life so much better when you are walking around acting like a “Grown Up”? Stop laughing, stop having fun all day, stop pretending, and stop playing make-believe is that being grown-up?

I am no longer a kid. I have officially grown up. Occasionally there is a glimpse of kid in me and then you know who knocks me out of it really fast? A Grown up person with their tunnel vision, negativity, fear of intimacy etc, etc, etc.

Wouldn’t it be great if every day you made a conscious effort to NOT GROW UP?

Think of things you did as a kid that gave you sheer happiness and joy. Things that you haven’t done since you were a kid. Make a list. Start doing those things. Maybe our inner kid will emerge and what is the harm in that?

My list of things I did when I was a kid that I can remember bringing me pure joy are:

Hugging (and I am a self described non-hugger now- avoid it at all costs unless it’s the hubby or my own kids)

Coloring (and I didn’t care if I stayed in the lines)

Pretending to be a Mom or wife (I REALLY did do this. I can picture my pretend house between the two trees in my backyard or in the space of my bedroom, and I was the happiest Mom and wife a man could have ever asked for in the meagerest of homes)

Pretending to be a teacher. (I was the nicest teacher, who taught her kids in a fun way and the kids liked me – now I am not a teacher by profession, but I have kids, I do teach them, I should be this great of a teacher to them all the time)

My list is pretty short with a lot of make believe. But whenever I have been in a bad/boring/too serious or tough situation in my life my coping mechanism is to pretend I am somewhere else doing something else. When my kids are upset, bored or whiny my answer to them is to pretend, take a mental time-out and escape. My kids have amazing imaginations. This kind of says something doesn’t it? Maybe we shouldn’t have to pretend so hard to make things better. Or maybe we should.

Someone else’s list might include the sports they played as kids were their happiest moments. So go out and play sports today, like when you were kids with less rules and more fun, and don’t keep score.

Would the world end if everyone walked around with smiles, giggled, laughed and got carried away having fun? Who are you going to upset? The adults who forgot how to laugh?

Do you know someone who has this kind of spirit even as an adult? I do. Her name is Cherie. She is my Aunt. She can laugh in the middle of the worst situations. She can make you feel like laughing while you are sobbing. Her soul exudes youthfulness. She is a grown up adult kid. With responsibilities, a recently deceased husband, a full time job, and many stressful years under her belt, but she still hasn’t lost that kid inside of herself. I know that I can call her up right now, and her voice alone will bring me back down, and I will hang up with a guaranteed smile and laugh. She has mastered the art of being a kid no matter what age, and she doesn’t have to be in DisneyWorld to find it.

I said this is MY year ten days ago (can you believe it has only been 10 days?) One of the things I want to accomplish is to find my inner kid. I should run down those basement steps right now and join the two little girls who I can hear pretending they are zoo animals. I should be one of the animals with them. It sounds crazy, I know!

I have a friend named Renee. She is a grown adult kid. She has an art for this exact thing I am talking about. She should teach classes on it with Cherie. I could use a class in finding my inner kid. I bet most of us could.