It’s a while since I dabbled in witchcraft, committed murder, had a multitude of husbands, and made a fortune selling mud pies. Little did I know at the tender age of eight that adulthood isn’t all what it’s cracked up to be, or how childlike simplicity can have its benefits in our adult lives.
In a child’s world anything is possible. Like the other day little Missy spotted our picnic basket and begged to go on a picnic I backed out of the cupboard I was cleaning with an explanation why that may not be such a good idea but her enthusiasm was infectious. Instead of objecting, I found myself filling it up with bread rolls, juice, and some brightly coloured plasticware. Missy’s insides were giggling. She kept stretching her neck to look up at me in case I would change my mind.
You see, it wasn’t the weather for picnics. It was pouring down with gale force winds but that’s no reason not to have a picnic, not when you are six years old. So we had our picnic right in the middle of the hallway. It took us ages getting there because there were mountains to climb, rivers to cross, and rabbits to wonder at but when we got there the view was amazing and the company was great. Imagine if I hadn’t gone! I would have had a seriously clean cupboard, the kind that boring pokerfaced grown-ups like, who takes everything in life, including cupboards and themselves so serious. Instead, I returned to the fun element of me but, more importantly, shared it with my daughter who was teaching me everything I needed to know about the stress bursting benefits of adopting a childlike carefree attitude in adulthood.
We obviously can’t abandon all responsibilities, but we can learn a lot from children, how they immerse themselves in the present moment. Sticking to their guns, they ignore everyone else’s without being afraid to make a mess or a mistake. They cry and laugh, and let go, forgiving and forgetting easily. Children give and receive love freely. So how can we become more like them? Well, for the sheer childlike fun of it I prepared the following formula to help you.
Note: Childlike is not the same as childish. That’s a whole new topic for next week called ‘How to be all grown up.’ But for the record, childlike means being positive, carefree, fun, creative and super DUPER happy!)
Formula: Each day practice the following:
Be fully present in the NOW.
Explore life through the eyes of a child.
Cry when you want to.
Hug tight. Throw your arms wide.
Imagine endless possibilities.
Laugh out loud.
Dream your dream into reality.
Love Love Love.
Innocently give someone the benefit of doubt.
Kreate with abandon accepting mistakes.
Experience excitement; follow your heart’s desire.
Missy can’t wait until she is all grown up. I keep telling her to take her time or I will have no one to play with. She laughs, and for a while forgets to be all grown up. We do stuff like skip and ‘colour in’ and collect sea shells. So go ahead, walk on the edge of a wall, jump on your bed, buy yourself an ice cream, whatever it takes to be childlike. If you have little ones in your life join them in their world for a while. Play as if nothing else matters. Like I said, adulthood isn’t all what it’s cracked up to be unless, like me, you still love to sit Indian style on the floor, make a wish with a dandelion and can’t pass a play park without having a good old swing to myself.
© Aileen McGee