The people who know me best tell me I have a very playful personality. I was told once that I am not childish but rather child-like. I would agree with that, and I think that’s partly because I never wanted to grow up in the first place (seriously, one of the poses I did for my high school senior pictures is me dressed in a pink dress with white tights and China doll shoes, sitting on the floor surrounded by stuffed animals, looking very much like a little girl). I know when and how to be a responsible adult, but my inner child has always been there somewhere, waiting to come out and play.
As I have gotten older and had to deal with life’s challenges and responsibilities, that inner child has gotten quite lonely. Not everyone can bring that side out in me, and I always look forward to spending time with the people who can. It’s fun to be a little silly once in a while or do something only kids would typically do, like make a snow angel, especially if you are doing it with someone else or making someone else laugh in the process. Unfortunately, my kids don’t seem to approve of that kind of behavior. Anytime I do start to be a little silly or goofy, I get that look (you know, the one that says you are COMPLETELY embarrassing me right now) and a “Mo-om!” from at least one of them, sometimes all of them, even if we are at home and no one else is here. I can’t even sing along to the radio in the car without disapproval. One time my youngest said, “Mom, remember, we talked about this?” (jokingly, of course). It’s like they have this image of what a mom persona is supposed to be, and I’m not allowed to deviate from that. That makes for a very boring life.
I want to laugh and have fun, especially since laughing is so good for your health and well-being, but there are too many things that require me to be serious. So then the longer I go without letting the inner child out, the less natural it seems to do so, and I don’t like that. It’s too bad that as we grow older, we tend to laugh less, use our imaginations and creativity less, put walls up, are less accepting and tolerant of others, become more cynical and self-conscious, and don’t have as much time for playing. I wish it were more acceptable for adults to be more child-like. Imagine how much more fun and positive the world might be if that were the case. (Notice how I didn’t say childish. I know plenty of childish adults, and we don’t need any more of that!)
So I hope you will join me in trying to make more time to channel your inner child and not be embarrassed to do so. I used to stop being silly when my kids complained, but I don’t anymore. I refuse to lose my inner child, and it makes me feel like that kid who never wanted to grow up again. Life is too short, and it’s getting shorter all the time. I’d rather stay young than grow old.
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