Are you one of those people who are often told to lighten up or that you are too serious? Do you see others acting in a childish way and roll our eyes thinking, “Some people never grow up”? Do you think, “I didn’t even like cartoons when I was a kid, let alone those ‘adult’ animated tv shows now? (That’s totally me.)
How is it that some of us seem to be so out of touch with fun in our life?
Unfortunately, it’s probably no secret that it stems from something in child hood. Think back. Did you have to be grown up way too early in life? Was there often no time for games, imagination, playing with friends because there were other responsibilities that had to take priority? Maybe that responsibility was not being able to leave your parent alone. Was there no safety in getting lost in fun because then you weren’t paying attention to what was happening in your household? There was only safety in being hyper vigilant.
I often wonder how things would be different for me at this stage if I had learned to live with a little more reckless abandon as a child. If I wouldn’t have been told to “stop wasting film” when I was taking pictures of the every day, simple things that I was able to see beauty in. I wonder how different my life would be if I didn’t let people’s poking fun at my enthusiasm for things bother and shame me into a silent retreat. If I hadn’t been directed to “settle down”, not when acting wild and out of control, but just when I was overjoyed and excited.
These acts, and unfortunately many that are much worse, are like a shot of poison straight to the vein leading to a child’s soul. They teach you that there’s no place for acting like a child, no time for fun.
But as we get older, and if we are lucky, we realize that fun is a cure to an unhappy life. And this means some of us must learn to be able to act like a child again. We must learn to have a feeling of safety & confidence in it.
So where do you begin? We all too often hear about getting in touch with our inner child. But what does that actually mean and how do we do it?
First there needs to be some healing that takes place. As I mentioned above, their needs to be a mending that can allow for a sense of safety while “acting out” in fun. Then, you must take time to really listen to your self. Think about things you liked doing when you were a kid. What were the things you were doing when you got in trouble for “getting carried away”? Is there something that you have secretly really been yearning to do? Do you ever watch small children and while you are observing them at play, find yourself beaming from ear to ear? These are all indications of places you might want to start experimenting with this idea of having fun. It can be anything from building a sand castle to racing down a slide; coloring in a coloring book or blowing bubbles. Nothing is too simple.
What is your favorite type of humor? Find YouTube videos, or movies, or shows on demand that make you laugh out loud and commit to at least one night a week indulging in this laughter therapy.
If you are really feeling bold, attempt to do something that seems absolutely ridiculous and absurd for you to even attempt. A painting class. Karaoke. A belly dancing class. Once you take the pressure off of yourself to do these things well and just allow yourself to have the experience, you will find that you can actually have fun. And you will start to be more daring at these attempts which you know would have only proved to be embarrassing to your old you.
Your path to reclaiming fun in your life may take longer than you had hoped. You may need to just start with skipping doing the dishes immediately after dinner, and going straight for ice cream and a walk in the park. (Some of you are thinking, “let’s not get crazy now?!”) But the key is to start trying-in the right places, alone, or with the right people.
Soon you will start to forget. Forget that fun is not allowed or is frowned upon. Forget that being caught having fun once gained disapproval and a withdraw of love. You will forget that you are always supposed to be a grown-up and that fun is for children.