Rediscovering Your Inner Child
By Sandra Nicholl Dawes
When was the last time you had a really good laugh? You know the kind I’m talking about – those laughing fits you get where you can’t stop laughing even though your stomach hurts and tears are rolling down your face and you can’t even speak. Those are the best laughs, and when you think of a situation that made you laugh like that, it can’t help but put a smile on your face.
Is it me, or do those really good laughing fits seem to diminish with age? A sad thing for sure, because I think as grown-ups with all the things that we preoccupy ourselves with, we need those laughing sessions now more than ever! Why do we find it so hard to lose control? Why can’t we let go of more than a smile or a moderate chuckle? Why has something that was once so easy become so hard?
At a certain point when we were kids and our egos hadn’t taken over so fully, we didn’t worry about what other people thought. We were able to laugh at ourselves without berating us for being stupid or clumsy. We knew that people were laughing with us and it never entered our minds that they were making fun or laughing at us. So why did we go and make our lives so complicated?
I think part of the problem is that we take ourselves way too seriously. It would seem that all the challenges in our lives are so dire that they could truly result in the end of the world at any given moment. No one has time for “silly childish games”. But why is that? What’s so wrong about reconnecting with that part of you who knew how to lose yourself in laughter? Rediscovering that part of you that hasn’t learned to be concerned with what was considered “unacceptable” or “making a fool of yourself” could actually be a really good thing!
Now I’m not talking about bringing a whoopee cushion into your next business meeting, but I am talking about making time in your life for real fun! Whether it be tossing water balloons among friends on a hot summer day or making snow angels in the winter time, I think we forget about how simple it was to find joy and laughter when we were younger. You don’t have to go way on an expensive vacation or have pricey toys to have fun. You just have to find something you really like to do and do it without any kind of filter. Don’t think that you’re too old, or that you’ll look ridiculous doing it, just do it! Sometimes the attempt alone will give you material for your next really good laugh!
You may argue that there is no time for childish fun once we’re all grown-up. Adults have responsibilities that must be taken care of; rent or mortgages have to be paid. Groceries need to be bought, the kids need to go to dance or football practice – no time for games! But I would argue the contrary. It is precisely because our lives are so hectic that we need to make an effort to inject some fun into them. We are all so stressed. We go from stress at work, to stress on the roads, to stress at home. If we don’t find a way to lighten things up, all these stressors are either going to make us very sick, or worse.
There are very few people who enjoy being around someone who doesn’t like to have some fun. I think we all need to learn how to lighten up, to rediscover joy in the simple things, to be silly and not worry so much about what everyone else is thinking. I believe when we make a little more room for fun in our lives, our problems won’t seem so apocalyptic and life can actually start to be a joyful experience again. We can’t turn back the hands of time and reclaim our youth, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy life with child-like abandon!