Sunday, February 15, 2015

Childish Things All Grownups Should Do

A friend just posted an article entitled, “40 Hilarious Ways to Make Sure You Never Become a ‘Real Adult’.” The list included everything from silly ideas like wearing a costume in public (awesome) and playing in a bouncy house (also awesome) to vaguely immature things like potty humor (gross) and picking your nose (seriously gross) to totally fun stuff like building a pillow fort (I’m all over that) and eating junk food for dinner (you’d better believe I’m all over that). But I have a couple more ideas that they missed. Here are five more ideas of how to recapture the innocent joys of childhood.

1. Catch snowflakes on your tongue

Since it will be snowing for pretty much the entire day today, you’ll have plenty of chances to try this one. So put on your parka, your snow boots, your muffler, your hat, and your warmest mittens, go outside, lean your head back, and open your mouth. (Best to not do this one while standing under a tree.) Let the chilly flakes settle on your face like frozen feathers. Feel the flecks of ice melting on your tongue. Enjoy the silence.

2. Squish stuff between your fingers and toes

Shaving cream. Play-doh. Wet sand. Ground beef. (Be sure to wash your hands before and after). Scrambled eggs. (Ditto.) Snow. Mud. Clay. Anything you can find that’s squishable, squish it. Revel in the sensory thrill. Listen for the deliciously disgusting squelching noise. Watch for the soft eruptions between your fingers and toes. Look for the sculptured swirls and patterns that result.

3. Pretend

This is best done with kids, since they’re the uncontested masters of playing pretend, but it can be done by yourself or with other adults. Be a superhero. Be a pirate. Be a knight in shining armor. Be a racecar driver. Be the President of the United States. Be a cartoon villain. Be a giraffe or a monkey or a llama or a platypus. Don’t forget to incorporate costumes, voices, and props. Exercise that imagination. Bonus points if you do it in public.

4. Run

No, not running as in when you put on $300 shoes and a $700 GPS watch that maps your trail, monitors your heart rate, and reminds you to call your mother. Not running as in when you hop on the treadmill and watch the miles rack up. Running as in when you tear around your house for no particular reason. Running as in when you race across an open field just to feel the wind in your hair. Running as in chasing someone else just to make them squeal. Running as in squealing yourself simply for the joy of it. Running as in just enjoying the power of your own body. Running just for the sake of running. Just run.

5. Color

Get out some crayons (you know there’s a bunch in your house somewhere, probably at the back of the kitchen junk drawer) and some paper (whatever you have on hand: printer paper, construction paper, post-it notes, the back of the credit card solicitations that appear in your mailbox twice a week like clockwork, if you have kids you can even use a few pages from one of their coloring books), and go to work. Draw a self portrait, draw your house, draw your dream vacation. Draw some abstract or geometric figures and color them in. Experiment with colors and shapes and shading. Don’t worry about whether it’s artistic or not, just color. Once you get over your own inhibitions, I bet you’ll find it very cathartic.

Now go out there and be a kid! You’ll be a better adult for it.

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