When was the last time you ran through sprinklers on a swelteringly hot day? Listened to the satisfying crunch of dried leaves as you stepped on them? Took in deep whiffs of the delicious aroma that emanates from scorched earth as the rain falls upon it?
As children, some of us may have wished we could fast forward to adulthood. It just seemed so glamorous; no rules, no bedtime, none of the nagging “don’t do this” or “don’t do that”. As adolescents, there was an overbearing pressure from parents and teachers chiding us to ‘grow up’. Now that we have grown up, we sometimes find ourselves wistfully looking back to our carefree childhood days, wishing we could turn back time.
What we don’t seem to realize as we squander precious time in the futility of this nostalgia, is that each of us has a child within. Most of us keep that child locked away, shackled and gagged, never daring it to step out of the confines of the so-called mature, responsible adults we project ourselves to be. Some may even smother their inner child; they’re so mortified at the thought of being regarded as childish, they’d be quick to pass a comment like the abhorrent ‘act your age’ to someone enjoying life spontaneously.
‘Act your age’. What does that even mean? The only thing we can equate with immaturity or childishness is irresponsibility. But if you’re responsible, then who laid down the law and said that once you’re over 20 you can’t take delight in life’s little joys? Why do we get so embarrassed by what people might think?
Adults can be unforgiving and cynical. Children are innocent and don’t nurse grudges. They embrace each new dawn with excitement, and marvel at and take pleasure in things adults wouldn’t give a second thought to.
Why wouldn’t you want to hold on to those qualities you had as a child? They still exist within you albeit in a lesser degree. If you’re not convinced, here are a few reasons why liberating your inner child might be a good idea.
- Eliminates the dreariness of menial jobs. Housework, errands, helping with homework, grocery shopping, pointless meetings, organizing folders on your laptop, filing receipts and other mundane work form an inescapable part of our lives. The key is to trigger your creativity and unleash your imagination to find a fun factor to thwart the boredom. When I was younger and had to pour my mother tea, I’d pretend I was an undercover agent about to drug my victim for an interrogation (the Tropicana Slim sachet I’d empty into the cup was actually a vial of powerful truth serum). I still pretend to sometimes…
Try singing, writing a rhyme, playing a game, setting challenges for yourself and your colleagues and having a competition, reenacting a scene you might recall from a movie, creating your own dance move, discovering something new about your surroundings or just contemplating. The possibilities are virtually endless.
- Attitude adjustment. Wake up with optimism to what the day will bring. Find pleasure in the simple thrills that surround us. When did you last hold your face up to the gentle caress of raindrops or burst into a spontaneous song and dance because you were ecstatic? Just lay on the grass and observed the wisps of clouds floating by or sat by the sea and basked in the moonlight?
- Healthier state of mind. Appreciating the little things in life and the wonders around you every day puts your problems into perspective and enables you to lead a more relaxed and stress-free existence. You develop a more spirited outlook with the added touch of fun and spontaneity to your life, while exuding positivity and confidence.
Is your inner child alive and well? Put it to the test. If it is, there are a few things it can’t resist. Bursting bubbles in bubble wrap is probably one.