Have you ever wondered what portion of your life made you happier? Were you happier as a child or as an adult? When I was in elementary school, being in 5th grade seemed like such a big deal. To be the oldest kids in the school seemed so cool. As a 5th grader you could be a safety or work on service squad. I personally couldn’t wait to be a safety (which I got to do as a 5th grader). How awesome it seemed to be able to be in charge of everyone on the bus. To be able to stand up and walk around while the bus was moving would be so fun I couldn’t wait. Another perk was, cold days offered hot cocoa for all the safety’s before heading off to class. Service squad held no interest for me. You helped a teacher correct papers which seemed more like being stuck with homework. Lunchtime would be spent sitting with a class of 1st graders instead of your own friends. The job held no appeal for me. When I was young, I remember being in such a rush to grow up. I thought high school looked so grown up. I couldn’t wait until I could drive, wear makeup and stay out late. This happened again and again. If only I was this age or that age, oh the things I would be able to do.
What I’ve come to realize is that as an adult, there are fewer moments to get excited about. I looked forward to going out with friends without a curfew, getting married, having kids and having my own place. I couldn’t wait to decorate my own space to really reflect me. Picking out utensils was as important as what sofa I ended up with. Each would reflect my own personal choices. The funniest thing was the excitement over grocery shopping. What an incredible experience I would have when I could walk into my kitchen, open my cupboards and the refrigerator and all of the food would look delicious because everything I had picked out I loved. I remember doing my shopping, getting everything unpacked at home and throwing open every cupboard door and the refrigerator just to stare at all of the good things in the house to eat. What good thing would I eat first was this ultimate feeling of comfort for me.
Pretty much after my 20′s, the excitement died out. I lost the big moments. There weren’t really any great exciting things left that gave me that childlike excitement that I used to feel. I can go on trips out of the country, change my career plans 100% from where I thought I was heading and try out a million new hobbies, but I am unable to get that fresh, overwhelming, oh my g-d feeling of I can’t wait anticipation that I got as a child.
I think that this is something I must investigate. I need to figure out how to get that sort of excitement back. Is it that I am not challenging myself enough? I know I’ve taken on things that are completely foreign to me and turned them into something special. I think though, that I need to find the things that are as close to something I’ve never experienced in any way. Something that causes a little fear and trepidation in its undertaking.
When we were kids, there was a sort of road map that everyone knew of. You saw older kids doing the things you couldn’t wait to do. Books and magazines would discuss in great detail all of the adventurous times that you would have as you got older. There is nothing like that to guide you once you are an adult. There is college, a career, marriage, buying a home and kids. Not all of these things listed are what everyone wants, but the point being, what happens next? The kids grow up and you might have grandkids. What if you decide not to have kids? Seriously, what happens next? Is it possibly the seriousness of adulthood with the bills and responsibility of taking care of yourself and possibly others that puts the damper on the excitement?
Personally, I like my adult years better. There have been some tremendously horrible moments in my adult life, but just the thought that I’m in a position where I can choose what happens next makes it my favored time of my life. So the trick remains to find the excitement. I miss that feeling of looking so forward to something that I feel like I will burst with excitement. My life is fine, happy and content. My life is also a little drab, boring and worn. I think it’s time to rile myself up and put a little spark back into my everyday life and see where that gets me.
I would love to know what you think. Was being a kid or an adult more fun for you? Please let me know what your opinion is.
To contact Wendy McCance about a writing assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: [email protected]
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