Tips on staying young from a recovering adult
I am going to be honest with you. I have a callous adult exterior. I don’t think I was always this way but somewhere in my adult-growing years I started to become more and more old. The fact that my husband didn’t grow old with me really started to bug me. I wasn’t bugged by his lack of adultishness – I was bugged because I couldn’t seem to have the same kind of fun he had. I didn’t find humor in things he found hilarious. I was becoming stuffy and serious while he was staying young and easy going.
Over the last year or two I have taken great strides to lighten up. I am determined to chip away at my callous shell and find the inner child I know I have. Little by little I have seen her peeking out and giggling.
There are rules we adults have set for ourselves. These rules are not written out officially, I did a Google search to find out for sure. Unspoken as they are, the majority of us allow ourselves to be governed by them. We refuse to laugh at silly things, we don’t play tag or wear colorful socks. We focus our time on finding new and better ways to live another year, another week, another day even when the life we are trying to extend is boring. We worry about every morsel that goes into our mouths. Is it organic? Are the proper amount of government institution recommended vitamins in it? Will it cause cancer? Is it processed?
While a few of these rules may be legitimate for a few people the error comes when we let them consume our lives. I am not recommending that we all become idiots and throw caution to the wind completely, I am just saying to measure it wisely and discern what adult rules are necessary and what adult rules are ridiculous.
This issue is spilling over onto our kids, too. I notice quite often how parents expect their children to stop being so childlike and grow up already. I am not talking about discipline – a well disciplined child will make having fun with them that much more enjoyable.
What I am talking about is eruptions of giggling fits at the dinner table and silly, nonsensical talk between two teenagers, children getting loud and obnoxious – acting like children, sheesh.
It can be as simple as shoes. My 3 year old loves to wear these little green winter boots everywhere – even with shorts. What is it going to hurt that I let him? My husband and I say, “you’re only 3 once – might as well enjoy it.” It is the only time in your life that throwing caution completely to the wind is 100% acceptable.
And childhood is so fleeting.
My advice is for us adults to lighten up and start enjoying our childhood. Yes, even at 50 you can still have a childhood. Wear your favorite shoes or a funny hat. Braid your hair down each side or put it in pigtails. Mismatch colorful socks. Smile for no reason.
Here are some more tips for having a more childlike spirit in your life and helping that to spill over into the lives of those around you, your spouse, and your kids.
- Take a walk in the rain. That’s right. I don’t know who made the rule that rain was something to fear. As long as there is no danger of electric shock rain is perfectly fine to be out in. Just put on a rain coat and take a walk with your kids or your husband. My husband and I take a short walk every night after dinner, just the two of us, rain or shine. If it is warm enough we will even go shoeless and stomp in all the puddles. There is something joyous about having people drive by shaking their heads at us like we are some kind of rebellious teenagers. When we lived in WA we would have a blast walking in the snow every winter – with the proper attire, or course.
- Paint your nails a fun color. Another rule that has been unnecessarily made is that settled adult women shouldn’t have fun nail colors. Right now my nails are royal blue. Appearance says a lot – when I am dull my mood feels dull. When I am colorful my mood feels more light and fun.
- Take a spontaneous day off. This is easier to do if you homeschool but even if your kids go off to school you can secretly schedule a day off for them for no reason. Sometimes I’ll work extra hard to get the house cleaned the day before so chores are minimal and when my kids go to get their books out and start school I’ll surprise them with the day off. Days off are freebie days and my kids can pretty much do what they want within limits – play a board game, play outside, watch movies, whatever.
- Have ice cream and cake with your kids for breakfast. It goes without saying that this isn’t a good idea on a daily, or even a weekly basis. However, an occasional fun treat first thing in the morning can help start the day off with endless smiles.
- Tell your kids a story. I don’t mean read to them. I mean tell them a story from your childhood or a campfire type of story. My husband told my kids a story at the dinner table last night. He made it sound ominous and had the kids on the edge of their seats. Not one scary word was spoken but when my husband yelled, “Ahhh!” all of my children jumped. It was really funny and everybody was laughing.
- Go ‘hunting’. If your kids are the right ages, maybe 4 through 9 or 10, you can have a blast hunting Snipes at night. This is a popular camping game but can be played anywhere at night with a few creative adjustments. Tell your kids a story about Snipes – that they are really cool looking animals that make squeaking noises but it is very hard to catch them because they have keen senses and know when you are coming. They also like to throw things at you so you have to be careful. This works really well if you have an older child who can go out and play the Snipe by occasionally making a squeaking noise or tossing something out from a dark place. Many younger children won’t need the noises or things tossed. Their imaginations will make it all up for them. If you don’t have skittish kids you can also add a scary element like another larger animal who hunts the Snipes could jump out and chase you. Change the game up according to your kids.
- Spot Light Tag. As soon as the sun sets take your kids outside and hide in the dark while one person counts with the flashlight. The flashlight kid, after counting, heads out with the beam on to search for the hiders. If you get tagged by the flashlight you are out. Be careful to keep watch over the littles. My 3 year old loves to play but we don’t want him lost in the dark so he stays with one of the adults or bigger kids. The more neighborhood people involved the better. Set up a hide zone, too, so there is a definitive hiding area; and a specific word that when shouted calls everybody to the chosen ‘base’ whether they were tagged or not.
- I got this one from Kim & Jason’s blog. You’ll need a few people for this one. Put in a classic movie or an old soap opera. Have everybody pick their character from the show and then mute the TV. When your character mouth is moving you have to talk – making up the dialog. This is a fun game that costs close to nothing. Taping it will get more laughs when you go back and listen to yourselves later.
An adult’s world is overloaded with issues, concerns and worry. We worry about our parenting and our kids, the economy, elections, health, bills, marriage, jobs, tomorrow, next week, next year, etc…
Many of us have tremendous pain in our lives, and we Christians are constantly at battle with sin and the evils of this world.
These issues are unavoidable – they are a part of this earthly life and we aren’t able to just delete them. Keeping armed and ready with a childlike spirit can help us enjoy the world we live in instead of becoming overwhelmed by it.
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