Keeping the Inner Child Alive

By Samantha Allan

When you were a kid, you had parents and teachers controlling most of your life. You felt like you had little say in your day-to-day activities and looked forward to having more control over your own life. As a child, growing up appears as this sort of magical state of being. Kids view growing up as the ultimate goal.

According to most kids, adults have the freedom to do whatever they want, whenever they want. As adults, we know this is not the case. Work, school, bills and other responsibilities often prevent us from having the freedom we all dreamed about. Instead of teachers and parents telling us what to do, we have expectations and goals pushing us forward. The magic outlook of adulthood quickly fades away.

So what’s left? Are we supposed to resign ourselves to adulthood? Do we let the magic and mystery fade away? The clear answer is no, but how can we bring back some of the positive light?

There are a number of different ways you can bring back the fun of becoming a grown-up. The easiest action is to let yourself be silly once and a while: eat ice cream at a weird time of day, crack a super corny joke or just let yourself laugh at something that might not even be that funny. Kids oftentimes focus more on having fun than how they look while doing it. They say laughter is the best medicine, so why not take advantage of it?

Even your job can bring back some of the inner child magic. Children constantly look at everyday aspects differently than we do. Kids ask lots of questions and maintain a constant curiosity for the world around them. They see magic and mystery because they are unafraid of endless possibilities. How can you transfer some of this outlook to your own job?

In “Bringing Back Childhood Creativity,” Josh Colton suggests “If you find yourself saying declarative sentences in meetings like ‘Our customers don’t want to …’ try replacing the certainty with a little curiosity by starting the sentence with ‘I wonder …’ Even if you think you know the answer, pay attention to how opening up to possibility changes the energy of the room.” The idea presented here is we can still think like a child. We can question things and open ourselves up to more creativity. We can make working more interesting by looking at our situation like a child would.

So growing up is not exactly what you expected? Responsibilities and work has taken away some of the magical freedom you constantly thought about. However, this does not mean all of the magic has to go away forever. As adults, we can try looking at our lives with a sense of childhood wonder. We can ask more questions, be silly and look at our life from a different perspective. Try bringing back the endless possibilities we saw not too long ago; they still exist. Give yourself time to bring some awe and magic back into the world of adulthood.