I was listening to a new podcast series today, and the host was interviewing the guy that created the award-winning Pixar movie, Inside Out. They were talking about the benefits of walking - but something they said struck something in me. "Why did we lose our childhood?"
They were talking about the shift on this guy's daughter from being the bubbly, friendly girl to a sad, emotional teenager. Similar to the plot of the movie - if you've watched it before. He said that he was called to the school one day and the teacher asked him "Your daughter is a quiet girl isn't she?" and he was shocked because that's not the girl he knew. But she did change, and he wondered why. Thus the question - why did we lose our childhood?
Well, fuck that teacher.
Then I started thinking, "Yeah, why did I lose my childhood, and when did it happen?" I used to do everything when I was a kid, from going down to the gutters looking for fish or eel (I know, gross, we once got a snake instead and ran screaming when we realised it was not an eel), to exploring the nearby woods discovering cool things. But something did happen after that, and somehow I began to play less and less. School? New issues? I guess.
That's it, huh? Life issues. When puberty hits, you just fucking lost it. Acnes, girls (boys for some of us), then all these changes in our body, mood swings (blame the shitty hormones), and suddenly things that we used to love doing look stupid, not 'cool'. Like that episode of Stranger Things, where they were playing the role-playing-game that they used to play all the time, suddenly it was lame. But that's not all, our positive attitude towards life has diminished as well - not entirely, but we became more..sour.
Let's all admit it, if you think back, growing up sucks (sure Sherlock). Life seems harder each day - some of us may find it easier than others, but generally, life became too 'real' when you are an adult. But I don't think it's life itself that makes things harder, it's mostly us, our choices, including our decision to choose certain feelings over things. I won't deny the fact that my parents, friends, the people I live with, or surround myself with, all influenced me in some ways. But I also won't deny that I did let them, I made the final decision to do so - to be influenced by them. I didn't have to, nor did you, but we all did to 'fit in'. To be one with the clan, the people who now have to deal with adult problems and responsibilities. There are bills to take care of, jobs to find to pay those bills, loans to make to get yourself a house, or a car, or any worldly things we think we should have. There is the issue of your partner, boyfriend, girlfriend, fiancee, spouse, their happiness and well-being, their personal issues that somehow affect your life tremendously. Then there's the seed of future problems, your own children (lucky you - and yeah, that's a sarcastic remark).
These problems have always been there even when we were kids - we didn't see them as problems before, that's the only thing that makes them different today. We didn't really care because they didn't impact us directly, but as we grow older, the tables are slowly turning. And with all the shit we dealt with, our perception changed as well, and suddenly..fuck!
Blessed he, who created such a versatile word. Fuck.
See, rambling on and on...
What's my point, you ask? What I'm trying to say is, we never actually grew up, or at least I don't think we have. We just told that child in ourselves to go to the corner and sit there quietly, "I'm busy, go play with your toys" kind of scenario. And we became too busy with everything that eventually we forget that he or she exists. Hey, parents, sound familiar?
That child is the one responsible for that spark of excitement when you hear a tune you loved when you were a kid, the one that encourages you to dance to the music and just act silly. But then the adult version of you will go "What the fuck are you doing? You look so stupid" and stop you from doing so. Then the child will retreat back to his corner and sulk - for God knows how long.
Yeah, adulting sucks, because we forget how fun it was to be a child - or simply denying the fact that we, once in a while, want to be silly, giggling or laughing out loud without any care in the world, skip as we walk, laugh at ourselves, dance in the rain. But once in a while, we meet other 'children' that we can connect with and they bring the child in the corner out to play. Ever have that one person or a group of friends that you can just be silly with? The ones that you can hang out with, joke with, mock people (don't do this too often, but yeah, this), and laugh till you cry. How does that feel? Liberating? Exhilarating? Until you have to part and be on your ways. Then reality struck, but here's one thing I learn, it doesn't have to. Which brings us back to making choices.
When it comes to reality, the adult you, can choose to face that reality with an attitude of your inner child, or the miserable adult you think you are. Sure enough, we let the adult take control of the decision-making process, our parents did it for us, so it only makes sense to do so. Or is it? I once experienced this, at the time it was super annoying, my friend and I were arguing over some work stuff. Her child, a six-year-old girl - now about to go to college (shit I'm old!) overheard us and came to her, asking why are we arguing. She told her that it was adult stuff, she should go and play, and she walked away mumbling "Being an adult is too complicated, arguing over silly stuff, they forget to play".
She's right. Play doesn't mean the exact thing, but what I understand now from what she said is, we never take it easy on ourselves, we overcomplicate things because we worry too much about things. And don't bother telling me it's about anticipating what could happen next, risk management, etc. Your life should not be managed the way you run a business. We all need to lighten up, take a step back, let things flow, have fun (a considerable amount of it). All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy - and a balding 40-year-old sitting on a desk writing reports and replying emails.
So today, well, from the moment I wrote this down, I have decided to try and find that balance between letting both sides take control. I am not an expert, I am just speaking from my own perspective, of how I think I should change things. And when the next rain comes, I will step out and dance in the rain.
Yes, dancing in the rain. We used to do that a lot when we were kids. My dad would spray water all over the porch, we would run and slide down the slick floor - until someone gets hurt and he would tell us to take a warm bath after. I really miss that, just getting out there and dance, getting ourselves soaked to the bone - either you get sick after or not, we didn't really care. Nor should I care now, yeah I might get sick so what?
So for the sake of it, go dance in the rain.
Whatever gets you high. I don't judge. Not directly to you, just to my group of 'children' and laugh about you till we cry.