Over the past year, I’ve learned to act more like a kid. I’m not talking about the bad parts of being a kid like homework or listening to adults, but the good stuff like playing, eating, napping, and wondering.
When I go for walks or hikes, I like to incorporate fun side-activities like walking backward, hopping between sidewalk cracks, and balancing on curbs to avoid stepping in lava-filled streets. Sometimes I pick up pebbles and try to hit tree trunks from a distance or quickly spin away from a trashcan like I’m a running back heading for a touchdown. Is it crazy to draw a hopscotch game on your driveway and play a brief game before a run?
When I go out for a run, I say hello to everyone I pass. Sometimes these hellos turn into conversations. Most of the time a hello is greeted with a smile and a return hello or a friendly wave. I like to make it a game. Can I say hello before the other person? If I reach my hand out, will they give me a high five? If I tell them I’m spiderman, will they believe me?
Eating is so much fun! Even more so now than when I was a kid because I’ve already learned my lessons. I know what to eat and how much I can handle. For example, I try to limit my ice cream intake. It tastes good, but if I don’t keep it to fairly small sample sizes, my next trip to the bathroom isn’t very comfy. My favorite candy is Twix followed by gummy bears and my favorite dessert is any sort of baked good. My go-to normal foods are burritos, tacos, and almost any kind of sandwich.
Most young kids nap, but for whatever reason society tells them to stop by the time elementary school rolls around. Unfortunately, the nap stigma remains alive and well right through adulthood. I suppose most adults deem naps lazy or unproductive. I’ve actually found many benefits to napping as an adult. It reduces stress, gives your mind and body a chance to recover, and gives you an opportunity to dream about your next adventure.
I think my newfound playfulness annoys my wife, so I try to contain myself when I’m with her. I’m like a kid at naptime who doesn’t want to nap but also doesn’t want to wake up the other kids. So I play games in my head. If we’re out for a walk, I might look up at the sky and place bets with myself on which cloud will reach the local mountain peak first, the one shaped like a giant axe-wielding marshmallow man or the one that looks like a rubber duck wearing a sombrero. Usually, I win and reward myself with a few gummy bears.
I recently visited my nephews aged five and one. They are SO good at wondering! Almost everything they do or see is new to them. It’s so much fun to watch their faces light up when they watch a cartoon for the first time or see a huge pickup truck rumble by. Everyday things that we adults take for granted are magical experiences for kids.
It’s a fun challenge to try and discover some new mystery and simply wonder about it. Recently I found myself wondering where the wind comes from. Instead of looking up the answer on the web, I made up my own explanation: An giant old man wearing overalls and knee-high socks who lives behind the mountains keeps blowing on his hot soup.
Acting like a kid has made me happier, my stress has decreased, I have more energy, and I’m better at seeing the bright side of things like the news, bad weather, or traffic jams. Do you enjoy acting like a kid? If so, maybe we can meet up for a game of freeze tag sometime?