Article by Wendy McCance
When I was in my 20’s, I remember assessing my actions and trying to determine if I was acting “adult” enough. Somehow I figured that a switch would automatically happen and I would be this particular image of what an adult was supposed to be. I was overly critical of the clothes I wore, the way I presented myself and the amount of adult responsibilities that I took on. I had lists of goals, and plans for what should be happening in my life at the 5 and 10 year marks.
Over the years, I have realized that this image I had of what an “adult” was supposed to be was somewhat misguided. Sure I took my future seriously and was determined to land the great job, have a good amount of money stashed away in my bank account, contribute to a 401k, own a home, be married, have children and so on. All of that worrying about if I was on track and how I compared to my friends was blown out of proportion. You grow, you change, you become an adult and the responsibilities of life tend to naturally create the “adult life” that I was pushing too hard to achieve.
What I have realized after all of these years is that people can get so caught up in the idea of being an adult that they lose their playful side. Honestly what good is it to be a responsible adult with out some fun? I know people who have worked themselves to death. Their life revolves around their career and they eat, breathe and sleep with their career on their mind. There is never enough time at the office and the push to achieve takes over and becomes all their life is noted for.
As I have gotten into my 40’s, I am realizing that without some time to be playful, life loses its spark. For me, seeing my children at play has been great for maintaining some playful qualities. I have been known to watch a cartoon, run through the sprinklers on a sweltering day to cool off and pack a picnic and ride to the park on my bike for an impromptu picnic.
My oldest daughter decided that she wanted to celebrate her birthday by having a campout in the backyard with a group of her close friends. A tent was erected, some lawn games were put out, music played, there was a campfire with s’mores and the grill was going with hot dogs and corn cooking on it. These kids had an incredible time. I have to say I was envious of the whole campout idea. What an incredibly fun thing to do. I’m thinking it will have to be repeated before the end of the summer with my husband and kids.
I think back to my life growing up and what my parents were like. I’m not sure if it was the time we were in or just the personality of my parents, but they had lost their playfulness. I would have never caught my parents running through a sprinkler or spending a night in a tent in the backyard. heck, my parents wouldn’t even get in the pool or lake when we went swimming. Sure they had friends and activities that kept them busy. It was that childlike freedom of letting go and not caring what they looked like or who saw them that they lacked.
What about you? Have you held on to your playful side? Do you see it as an important thing to maintain?
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