Life is serious business. One minute you’re happily eating sand and digging worms out from the ground, then someone paves the back yard and ships you off to Kindergarten where you’re expected to be able to colour within the lines. Then comes Elementary School, and Middle School, and the pressure develops. You’re expected to do well in your exams because that’s what’s going to guarantee you a great future. You get into a good High School, which you’re chuffed about then your parents expect you to do well at that too. Here come the comments like “if you played less and studied more, you’d have a brighter future”. Never mind that you don’t even know what you want for lunch. You’re expected to know what you want to do for the rest of your life.
So you get into the University that they want you to get in, but it doesn’t end there. Next, you have to not only graduate, but get Dean’s List and stuff, because that’s what’s going to ensure you that dream job. What do you do? You hangout less, and spend more time studying. Finishing university, you apply for jobs here, there and everywhere, and then the first job comes and you think you can relax a bit because hey, now you make your own money. Wrong again. Next comes the pressure to buy a car/house/dress well/hangout in the right place, and whatever else is expected of you. You’re so focused on these things, everything else in life is a blur.
You go to work, where you’re expected to do what the company wants you to do, for the good of all. You look forward to Friday night, play night, when you can let loose, have a few drinks and be an idiot. Mind you, this is the only time when it’s acceptable to behave like an idiot, because everyone else, who’s drunk is in the same mind frame, and let’s face it, nobody’s going to remember much the next day, apart from that massive hangover the next day anyway, unless you have work to do, in which case, hangover or not, you sit down and try to do as much as you can. Then one day, you wake up, and can’t remember the last time you really laughed, or felt light-hearted.
Why do we care about acceptable behaviour? Does it really matter what a stranger thinks? I’ve just realised that it doesn’t really, not to me. I remember when we were young and broke, and us girls would just go to shopping centres and try on clothes. Didn’t matter that we couldn’t afford them, or that the sales people looked at us a certain way. Then there were those times when we’d just sit in a coffee shop and look at people, a passtime that we call “studying life”. It was cheap and it guaranteed a good time as long as you were with people who shared the same disdain for inferior life-forms. There were nights when we’d just drive around, and stop in a strategic spot to watch the sun rise, and days we’d just walk in the park, and play with borrowed kids or someone’s dog.
As time passed, these moments shortened and grew further apart, but recenly, I have been reminded of them. Trying on 20 pairs of shoes with no intention to buy, just talking to each other and seeing how we have all changed, making silly fart noises with our hands, eating chocolate ice-cream with chocolate sauce and random comments that came out of nowhere. These things don’t cost much, but these are the things that have made me feel lifted. What I’ve realised is, when the car breaks down, or the rent is due, or the boss is on your case for something, or the world just wants so much from you, it really helps to have someone who can be silly with you, and won’t give you a “you’re so lame” look when you’re being silly. The best people in your life, are the ones you can do these things with, the ones who help you find your inner child. Then there’s the bonus of having a memory of these silly times, when you’re down, and you channel into them and you snicker to yourself, or better still, you laugh out loud. I’m so thankful for those people in my life who let me express my inner child, and let their inner children come out to play with mine.
At the end of the day, there’s childish and childlike, and although we grow out of being childish (hopefully), being childlike is good. A few people have commented that they expect me to be a very strict parent, but providing it happens before I turn 103, I would like to be the kind of parent who will laugh with my kids, run with them, and still have that lightness and silliness that comes from the inner child within. Nothing wrong with it people. Whenever you feel like letting your inner child out, I’ll let mine out, and they can go out and have a play date. 🙂