Keep your inner kiddo alive

Abby makes time to play at Funky Bones. Photo by Abby Pluff. 


Oh, adulthood. Why, oh why, does it have to begin so soon? And why does it feel so fake?

When you think of a ‘real adult,’ what do you think of? For me, it’s someone who pays their bills on time, someone who has a bit of financial wisdom, someone who works just a little too hard to have as much fun as they should. Someone who is classy, balanced and wears slacks and maybe even a tie or two. 

As great and responsible as that all sounds, where’s the fun? Where are the days that make life worth smiling about?

I’m fully convinced that real adults, people that fit this mold we hold in our minds, don’t even really exist. When you think about how old you truly feel ignoring your age on your driver’s license or the list of responsibilities that you have it seems silly to classify yourself as someone that’s an adult. Deep down, we’re all just middle schoolers cosplaying in grown-up clothes and trying to sound official in emails.

There’s nothing wrong with the tie-wearing, savings-savvy lifestyle; that’s what the world often demands of adults. But that’s not all life is, despite what the myth of true adulthood tells you. 

People need to continue to play throughout adulthood, whether you’re currently in college or have been out of college for decades. Playing, whether that means going to a playground to swing on a swing set, riding a bike, dancing in your kitchen to your favorite tune or taking a drive with your windows down and radio up, is the spice of life. Feeling childlike joy, the kind that makes you giggle and lifts the stress off your shoulders, is something that all adults should feel — even if it’s not traditionally considered ‘real’ adulting.

Life isn’t just about working until you die — despite what capitalism may tell you. Hard work is a virtue, but so is living a life of joy and freedom. You have to enjoy your life, love with your whole heart and make space for your own happiness. And the best way to do this? Playing! Doing things that are not traditionally adult-like.

This isn’t to say that you should be immature. Deadlines are still an important part of growing up and being a fully-formed human being. You still have to pay your bills, present yourself well and be an emotionally mature person who can make hard decisions, but that doesn’t mean you have to be boring and do nothing but grown-up things. 

We are all too young, whether we’re 19 or 87, to be so worried about presenting ourselves as respectable adults. We spend so much time out of our short lives focused on looking official and having it all together. Instead, maybe we should spend a bit more time connecting with our inner child and being truly and deeply happy.

We are only as old as we decide to be. We should start deciding to be a little less ‘real adult’-y and instead embrace the time and joy we can create for ourselves by being a bit more child-like for the rest of our lives. 


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