When we’re young, we all dream about growing up. We wear our dad’s button-ups, and our mum’s heels, even though both are bigger than our entire being. But we play, and we dream about what it would be like to fit in either one, have our own house, and become a doctor, or ballerina, or any of the other thousand things we wanted to be when we grow up.
So when exactly did we lose that spark, and the reality of practicality took it away? We hit 18, and we graduate high school, and we’re pushed to make a choice that supposedly turns into the rest of our lives; we’re meant to “grow up.” Well, I say we could all do with some growing-down.
Take a second to think back, what did you absolutely love to do when you were younger? Dance, read, create intricate scenarios with stuffed toys, dress up, make sock puppets, or go outside and sit in a puddle when it rained? What gave you happiness as a kid, beyond any measure?
Now, when was the last time you did any of those things? When did you stop doing it?
Last year, I applied to university and majored in English Literature because I loved reading and writing, and I wanted to go down that path in some way, with no other clue. Only, it drained me of everything I love about either one. So I changed majors, only to find myself reconnecting with reading and writing more than I have since middle school. And let me tell you, it is the one thing that grounds me more than anything and reminds me why I’m doing what I’m doing. It reminds me of why my goals are the way they are, and that play-time motivates me.
With the growth of technology and the grind-till-you-make-it mentality, attention spans that could finish books in a day have been replaced with click-bait and quick captions, because our free time became shorter with the pressure of the reality of growing up. It’s not our fault, life got in the way. Things like scrolling through social media become a conditioned habit, and before you know it, we’re thinking back to when we had the time to play, and now we have to intentionally plan to do those things.
With everything going on, it’s easy to drag through things and let days slip away. I’ve been there, we all have, and it’s perfectly valid. Everything we do now feels mundane, as opposed to when we were young and we learned to hold a fork on our own for the first time. It was foreign, learning things for the first time, it was magical and exciting. But over time, it lost its magic, we got accustomed to life, and suddenly we’re taking things for granted.
Let’s say you give an adult a box, they’ll use it to store their belongings. But give it to a child and suddenly it’s an airplane or a castle or a spaceship, and they’re travelling to a different world that we can’t begin to comprehend. How amazing is that?
It’s almost like we have to purposefully unlearn practicality. And I’m not saying shrink your responsibilities, but do them with the wide-eyed wonder of a child learning for the first time. Do it intentionally, with carefree excitement. Reconnect with your imagination and the things that seem quixotic.
I challenge you in your busy schedules, to take time to play, be a kid, and do stupid things. Because even in the darkest moments, that is what is going to bring you back to that raison d’etre, your reason for being, whatever it is you dream of. In a time when finding motivation is work on its own, feed the needs of your inner child, and just remember there is so much more outside of isolated walls and the demands of real-life, even sitting in your living room. Try to make time (even if it is just 10 minutes) to reconnect with that insanity of childhood. Play music and sing into a hairbrush, or paint a wall at home, whatever it is.
Go do it.