Being childish or childlike as an adult is often seen as an insult. The words imply a selfishness and immaturity which is looked down upon in modern society. Who would want to work with someone, or hang out with someone so childish? Well, my husband likes to remind me that I married ” a 5 year old” on a regular basis. While often this references his sense of humor it also refers to his outlook on life. In his own non-childlike words he just doesn’t give very many shits about anything. Like a child he lives in the moment. He finds extreme joy when doing something he enjoys doing. He prioritizes those things that bring him joy even if that means pushing the to-do list aside (who am I kidding, I’m the list-maker in this relationship). He regularly tells me that I give WAAAY to many shits but has assured me I am getting better. I believe I am. I certainly am not letting things get to me as much as I have in the past, my lists remain but get pushed aside more often for fun or relaxation. I embracing the child I was and in doing so I’m learning about what is actually important to me.
As a child I loved climbing trees, and exploring the woods around my house. When taken to a park I would create elaborate missions and spy on the other kids, especially my siblings. At home I enjoyed outdoor activities more than indoors but when inside you would find me reading or doing some kind of craft project. One thing is constant through all of these activities. I was always 100% in. I never had worries festering in the back of my mind as I played or created. I wasn’t thinking about my to-do list or that project due at the end of the week. I was in the moment and enjoying every second of it. In fact I could care less about the clock. I would do these fun activities until someone told me I had to stop, until someone was the “adult”. Now I am the “adult”. The clock runs my life it seems most days. I’m always thinking of the next thing that has to happen, always maintaining the schedule. Luckily I’ve realized my (and most of society’s) obsession with the clock. While my weekdays are pretty tightly scheduled, we keep our weekends at a pretty relaxed pace and once a month we try to go “camping” where we follow the schedule of the sun. My watch comes off at the beginning of those weekends and doesn’t get put back on until Monday morning. It is incredibly freeing. I’m learning to tune back into the joys of the everyday moment and let myself do what I want. I’m being selfish and childish and I love it.
Looking closely I also see direct correlations between these childhood joys and my current passions. I still love being outdoors which is why this tiny lifestyle works so well for me. I would rather be out exploring nature, or at least sitting outside, than inside any day. For many years during college and the start of my career, I allowed myself to forget how much being outdoors inspires me and calms my racing mind. It was only on vacations or the occasionally scheduled hike on weekends that I would glimpse that shimmer of joy that I used to relish. But always at the end of the time I would tuck it away and go back to my regularly scheduled program. Not anymore. With this shift in our lifestyles we’ve decided to prioritize our time outdoors. Even though for now we are both still working full-time and don’t have the freedom to choose our location, like we soon will, we still spend a large amount of our time outdoors. From eating dinner on the patio, to walks with the dogs, to hiking and camping on the weekends, you will find us trying to be outside as much as possible. Occasionally, even in southern Arizona, we have some dreary days where the weather outside is not conducive to being out and about. I actually relish these days now. These are the days to be creative inside. To read an entire book if I want. Or research topics I’m interested in. Or work on my newest knitting project. Foul weather is the perfect opportunity to engage in my creative passions. But once again I learning I need to prioritize these things. If I let my to-list or schedule sneak into the back of my brain the activity is not nearly as enjoyable or creative. I’m learning to jump in feet first!
So my call to my readers today is to find time this week to be a child. Perhaps you have children of your own and you can join them in one of their all-in activities and feel that spontaneous joy that has you all giggling with glee. Or find time to do activities that harken back to your childhood days of long afternoons and endless summers. Dive into these fun activities! Forget for a while that chores need to be done, bills paid, dinner made. Be selfishly childlike.