It isn’t really until you are an adult that you truly appreciate childhood. I guess it’s like everything in life, hindsight is 20/20. Childhood moves quickly and you suddenly find yourself trying to navigate the waters of adulthood. Then one day when you have your own children you are given what some may say is a second chance.
I didn’t start having my children until my thirties. If you are anything like me by the time you hit your thirties your vision of childhood is somewhat clouded. You forget what it was like to think like a child and while some people have not forgotten how to act like one you have certainly put that behavior so far in the back of your mind that you sometimes forget how to bring the child in you back. Luckily for me my children have helped me find her again. I’ve reconnected with the child in me and it’s amazing. Here are the top ten things my children have reminded me of that I had long forgotten:
1. Laugh. Don’t just giggle or politely laugh at someone’s joke…really laugh. Laugh until you cry. Laugh until you look ugly and have mascara running down your face. Life is funny and laughing feels amazing! Laugh with friends. Laugh with family. Don’t just write LOL actually laugh out loud. It’s good for the soul.
2. Cry. Don’t worry about what the person next to you thinks. Don’t worry about keeping your emotions to yourself. If you feel sad and you want to cry, then do it. Tears are cleansing and sometimes there is no cure for sadness other than feeling it.
3. Run. Run around with your kids. Don’t just watch them run. Every now and then get up and run around with them. There is a reason your kids are constantly running. There’s a reason no matter how many times you tell them to stop running in the house they find it impossible to listen. It’s invigorating. It reminds you that you’re alive.
4. Dance. Dance when you hear music. Dance when you don’t. Dance if you have rhythm, dance if you have none. Don’t worry about what you look like.
5. Find something new and exciting in the everyday. All too often as adults we greet the day with the negative and what we are dreading. We think about the things that we don’t want to do that day. The meeting we have to attend or the running around we have to do. We want to fast forward to the end of the day before it’s even begun. Find something amazing in the simple things. The way the sun feels on your face at the bus stop that day. The way your child waved at you at preschool drop off. The way you enjoyed every bit of your coffee on your commute into work. Find something to be excited about each and every day. It will make you happier.
6. Tell someone you love them. As adults we can be so very guarded with our feelings. While sometimes it’s necessary most of the time it’s not. It’s our pride. It’s our worry of feeling silly. Don’t think about it just say it. Call that friend you haven’t spoken with in all too long. Tell them you miss them. Tell your spouse you love them for no other reason than you were thinking it. Call your Grandma tell her she’s awesome. Don’t hold back. If you feel it, say it. My kids are constantly telling people they love them or they think they’re funny or pretty. They don’t care about rejection. They want to shout their feelings for the entire world to hear.
7. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. If you don’t try it you will never know. If you aren’t making mistakes well you’re not learning. Learning helps you live longer….I don’t have anything to back that up other than common sense. If we’re learning we are participating in life and that keeps us living.
8. Don’t be afraid to get dirty. My kids run out into the great outdoors without a care in the world. They aren’t thinking about their hair, their clothes or their nails. They are thinking that the worms in the dirt look like cool things to study that particular day. Get outside. Go on a hike. Take your kids fishing. Touch the worm it won’t bite.
9. Lean on the people who love you. Kids are never afraid to ask for help. If they are unsure about something they ask for guidance. If they are afraid of something they ask for support. As adults we have this thing called pride, and it gets in the way A LOT. Don’t let it. When we lean on those who love us the bond becomes greater. I haven’t gotten to the end of this road of life yet, but I would imagine that the greater the bonds we make along the way the easier it is at the end.
10. Let go of the ever growing need for more materialistic things. I’m not always good at this one. I would be a liar if I didn’t say I like a nice bag or a great pair of shoes but the reminder that they really don’t matter is good. I’ve watched my children receive gift after gift at many a birthday party and then I’ve watched them play pirates in the backyard for hours with nothing but each other and empty paper towel rolls (ahem telescopes) They show me time and time again that all they need is each other and a little imagination.
Children are constantly showing us that life is so much simpler than we make it out to be. Sure we have adult worries that they know nothing about like mortgages and work deadlines but if we are able to take their cues and add some of these into our adult lives we will be all the better for it. Get to know your inner child again. You’ve been missed.