To Be a Kid

This is not me.

This is not me.

“I’m never too old to have fun,” a girl recently said to me. That’s something I need to learn. Like many kids these days, I grew up early in life. After the approximate age of 10, my childlike ways vanished.

At that point and by choice, my time was mainly spent around adults. Mentally I felt like a 30 year old, so being around kids my age didn’t interest me. The activities that they found to be amusing were all silly in my eyes, and the idea of being seen as a child was humiliating for me.

So I mentally grew up, and put all my childish ways behind me. They remain behind me to this day. I don’t like it, and never have. Jealousy can be a rotten thing, but I often get that way when I see others having a good time.

Who said adults can’t play in the water, in the mud, or swing around like a child? There’s also nothing wrong with rolling in the grass, or skipping down the sidewalk with your children. Adults can have just as much fun as kids can, yet I’m not allowed to because of my self-imposed rules.

Yesterday, I took my son to an amusement park. We decided to walk around first to see what all he would like to do, before purchasing the tickets. All except for two rides, he didn’t want to participate in or get on anything else that was there. He even turned down a building project ‘toy’ that I know he would have loved to have.

It was supposed to be a fun day, but he didn’t want to do anything fun. I got upset and very disappointed. We stopped to discuss the issue, and as the words began rolling off my tongue, I realized that he was just like me. By example, I have turned my child into an adult. He’s a stick in the mud, because I am.

That’s not to say, that we don’t do fun things. We do. We go on hikes together, stick our feet in the rivers, and go on walks, but those are adult activities. My son’s not an adult, and he should feel free to be a kid. Yet he doesn’t, and it’s primarily my fault.

That needs to change. Because of the unreasonable rules I have applied to myself, I have missed out on many opportunities. Now it’s being passed down to him. That is one of the main qualities that I dislike about myself, and have always wanted to change, but could never bring myself to do so.

My son is now my motivation. I have to change this, so that he will. He’s always been a mini-me, so it’s my job to make sure that he’s not mimicking my undesirable and unnecessary qualities and limitations.

We’re going to change this.Β We’re going to have fun. Together, we will learn how.

Seeing as how this ‘being a kid’ thing is new for me, I’d love to hear any advice or suggestions that you may have.

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41 Responses to To Be a Kid

  1. Tim Taylor says:

    I am the exact opposite really, I’m still just a big kid, however right now I can’t really do anything to have fun, as I’m pretty much limited to the house to take care of my mom. My advice to you would be to just try and throw off the adulthood persona and just give in to all the fun things he likes or would like to do.I know that will be hard for you to do, given the info you gave in this post. I’m rootin’ for ya πŸ™‚

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  2. DailyMusings says:

    I applaud your ability to see something about yourself you want to change, and setting your sights on doing so. To be so objective to be able to see how your “behavior” has had an impact on your son is wonderful. I personally love to still be a kid,(I’m 56) I think part of doing so, or being so is not caring what people may think of you when you are not “acting your age” All I know is my grandchildren squeal with delight when I get into the act with them. It is also very freeing to just let it all go! Good luck in your new adventures! πŸ™‚

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    • mewhoami says:

      Thank you. I try to see my flaws. Sometimes I’m too hard on myself, but at least over time some things get corrected. You make a good point about not caring about what people may think. Along with it being unfamiliar to me, I think that that’s my second biggest fear. It’s great that your grandchildren love being around you. Kids when they see me are like “you again?”… Ha! Thank you!

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  3. mommyx4boys says:

    I unfortunately was forced to grow up very quickly, I had to care for my younger sister and make sure she even ate, at times having to steal money from my dad just to buy her food. But now I am a huge kid I take pleasure in just about everything my kids do. Swimming, Halloween, dancing and acting goofy or anything else. My husband often says I act like a child, but thats okay cause I didnt get to when I actually was one.

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    • mewhoami says:

      It sounds like your childhood was pretty rough. How fortunate your sister was to have you there though. It’s great that you are making up for it now and I applaud you for that. I’m hoping to get at least an ounce of ‘kid’ out of me.

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  4. My son was my motivation, too! Because I had an abbreviated childhood, it was so very important to me that he got to really enjoy his, and as such, I can be one of the silliest adults there is! You really wouldn’t know I was almost 40 by the way I act – because I want him to know it is okay to have fun, to be silly and to enjoy life!

    So, I’m really, really proud of you!! I’m excited that you are going to learn how to have fun and enjoy life and set a good example for your son! πŸ™‚

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  5. JamesQ says:

    Years ago while reading the book “Until Today! “, by Iyanla Vanzany, I came across a page that asked me to do something that would be very difficult. It said that I may feel extremely uncomfortable, but if I do this thing would be life-changing. It suggested that, for 40 days, I write a love letter to myself. She suggested that I make it very beautiful, perhaps scenting it and drawing hearts. 40 days of unconditional love. So I took on the challenge. Romantic that I am, writing love letters comes easily. But several days in I wasn’t feeling much. So I asked a friend who also took on the challenge how it was working for them. They told me it hadn’t resonated much at first, so they decided to write the love letters to their inner child. I know this may sound corny, but since I’m already writing love letters to myself I figured I had nothing to lose. My search is always to find more happiness and love in life. The first letter I wrote was hard. No, it was very hard. As I wrote “Dear Jamie…” my tears started to flow. I hadn’t thought about him since I was him, 35 years prior to that moment. I apologized for metaphorically locking him in a closet to become “James”. I explained how I knew I wanted to grow up, not be teased, not skip, not dance silly, not play with toys. That I no longer wanted his wonderment or awe. And that made me cry more. I apologized for leaving him in that first love letter, and unlocked the door. I held his hand and said I wanted to play and promise to play. That I want him in my life, to be my best friend again. And that I would protect him against anyone who tried to hurt him or lock him in a closet again, including me. It was an emotional experience, writing that letter. The next day I went to the beach in order to let him play. I did things I would never dream of as the group James. I skipped down the beach in front of everyone, smiling. I ran and jumped in the ocean splashing the water. I let the ocean water full my mouth and spit it out. But what was next surprised me the most. You must first realize that, as an adult I am very anal retentively clean. I bathe twice a day, and have to have everything put away very neatly. I don’t like to be dirty. So when I ran up to the beach and rolled in the sand I was literally in awe of myself. In front of so many people, a 48 year old father if 4, by himself, covering himself with sand. I allowed it to get on my face and in my hair. Then I contained skipping down the beach, sand covered from head to toe – and smiling. That was my awakening. I’m 52 now and have written over 100 letters to Janoe. And Jamie has written several to me when I’m struggling. It may sound weird but I have truly awakened the child within me, and things have only gotten better. I skateboard and surf with my kids. And I’m still able to successfully run a company and be responsible. That was my path back. I hope yours is just as fun!

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    • mewhoami says:

      This was very touching and inspiring. It even had me tear up, thinking of how much I’ve deprived my inner child. Thank you. I may try this letter idea. Also, reading about your adventures at the beach filled me with so much joy; as if it was me doing it. That would be terrifying at first, but so exhilarating too. The feeling of freedom could be felt in your words describing that experience. I’ll be at the ocean soon, and I will endeavor to make myself do the same thing. Thank you!

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  6. M E McMahon says:

    Find the inner child in both of you and do silly things! Climb a monkey bar, play in a sandbox, or go to the zoo and make funny faces at the animals. (Not the orangutans…I tried that once and it wasn’t pretty!) Don’t worry about what people think or how you will look doing wonderful, crazy things with your son. When he feels your freedom and your joy in experiencing something crazy and wacky, he’ll come along for the ride!

    Now, get out there and have fun!

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    • mewhoami says:

      That does sound like fun. Ha! Making funny faces at the animals may be a little too adventurous for me, but who knows, maybe after a year of being a kid, I can pull that off. You’re right. I shouldn’t care what people think and yes, when my son sees me doing it then maybe he will jump in. Lead by example, right? Thank you!

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  7. Jenna Dee says:

    I suggest you and your son watch the TOY STORY movies together. They will show you how to use your imagination to bring life to your inner child. Let down your guard and be free. Love to you both from Jenna

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    • mewhoami says:

      We have, but it was a long time ago. They do certainly have an imagination. You’re right. I should let my guard down. That’s what keeps me from having fun. Thank you, Jenna.

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  8. I don’t know how to tell you to find and feed that inner child. I’ve always been a bit ‘older’ in my behavior. Not that I have neglected the need to play and have fun. My needs for that just aren’t like others. And that’s okay for me. I applaud you for wanting to make sure your son has the freedom to explore and experience fun in many ways….he may surprise you ….either way. Even though I thoroughly enjoy my fun moments I also “need” my quiet fun and exploration.

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    • mewhoami says:

      I don’t think that my needs are the same as others either, but it sure would be nice to feel ‘free’ sometimes. Maybe he will surprise me. After all, he’s surprised me in so many ways already, so anything is possible. Thank you!

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      • The only time I don’t feel ‘free’ is when others don’t understand what it is I need and if I cater to ‘me’ it appears a bit lonely or selfish to others. And it is never ever meant to be that. I suspect that there will be a time that you feel more free when you redefine your responsibilities. πŸ™‚

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  9. I am very optimistic for you. I believe that just identifying the issue will help you and your son to become more playful! Good for you! I grew up much the same way. I haven’t completely conquered this issue, but it’s ok. Just keep the desire in the forefront of your mind and you will be amazed at how child-like fun will unfold little by little…

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    • mewhoami says:

      Thank you for your optimism Cate. I agree that seeing an issue is the only way to correct it. It is a desire of mine, and I plan on making some big changes this year.

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  10. tric says:

    I think we find our inner child at some stage. It might not be at the “normal” age but I do think it comes out eventually. I wonder what your parents thought when you grew up early. Very interesting post, as always.

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    • mewhoami says:

      I hope you’re right. Hopefully I don’t have to wait until I’m 80. πŸ™‚ My Mom thought it was odd that I only wanted to spend time with her and other adults. She still talks about it to this day.

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  11. suzjones says:

    So many of us share the same life as you. I guess I was deprived of a childhood as well. You kind of grow up quickly when you find out things about your parents (not that I love them any less mind). However, I need to find my inner child some days. I wish you well in your journey.

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    • mewhoami says:

      I deprived myself. There was really no good reason for it, just self imposed limitations. I can’t imagine what you found out, but if it was enough to change your childhood, then it must have been a pretty heavy topic. It’s good that you love them all the same though. Thank you, Sue.

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  12. April says:

    You can find your inner kid, I know you can.

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  13. My daughter (11): “Mom, what happened to your hair?”
    Me: “it grew out grey suddenly…”
    My daughter: “Wow, he really hurt you, didn’t he?”
    Me “yeah… but it’s ok. I am old, so it is ok to look old, too”
    My daughter: “Mom, you really do not look old, but regardless of looks or age whenever it changes, you can always act young, and feel young. Why be old or dead on the inside?”

    ❀

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    • mewhoami says:

      Wow, you have a very wise daughter. Thank you for sharing that. She’s right. Who wants to be old or dead on the inside. Take it from me, it’s boring to be that way. πŸ™‚

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  14. Glynis Jolly says:

    I sometime wonder if I was ever young. I never liked dolls and preferred a plain piece of paper to draw on instead of coloring books. When my mother would go visit my grandmother, I was always willing to go. I sit with my mother and grandmother listening to them talk for hours, enjoying every minute of it. I think I was born old.

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    • mewhoami says:

      The neat part of all of that, is being able to listen and learn from those who are older than us. Granted that only feeds our older self, but it’s also very educational and intriguing to learn from them. I loved listening to adult conversations and getting into them too. It was great, so I completely understand.

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  15. It’s not easy but I’m sure that given perserverance you can do it. We all have three ego states child (which can be free and natural or attempting to be what the parent wants), adult and parent (which can be supportive or critical). Ideally we should have a portion of each but always acting in adult when decision making. The child should allow us to have fun, see the world untainted and show emotion. There are lots of books out there and probably heaps on the internet. Good luck. πŸ™‚

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  16. I love this post and i know you will find that inner child and remember FUN is different for everyone. My son (on the spectrum) taught me that. I came from a family of fun loving nine kiddies. My dad was a crazy, funny BIG kid and so when I had a little boy who did not like the loud fairs and places I loved as a child I found new ways to bring out his inner child. Have an opposite day, eat dessert for breakfast. Wear your pi’s all day……go out in the rain without an umbrella ….He has his very own special sense of humour and once I discovered it was his anxiety keeping him from having fun in noisy places we set about giving him my kind of fun in small doses. Now we have a nice balance of both his kind of fun quirky kid stuff and my kind of crazy.

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    • mewhoami says:

      You are so right about that. Fun is different for everyone. Just because my son and I don’t have fun like others do, doesn’t mean that we don’t have fun. Like your son, he definitely has a quirky sense of humor and it takes looking outside the box to give him the enjoyment he likes. Thank you for this!

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  17. stormy1812 says:

    This is so interesting to me because there’s a part of me that’s always felt older than I am (more mature perhaps?? or something than my peers) and another part of me that’s always felt childlike and I’m not always so sure I’m fond of that either lol…at least not at times. I think it’s time to throw caution to the wind and just let yourself be. If you get an urge to skip…just do it. Don’t worry about what others will think. Let yourself be silly… you’d be amazed at how freeing it can be. I know one time my friend and I just decided we didn’t care, we were going to go out and dance in the rain! We got soaked and we looked ridiculous but we had a blast. The smile is something that will long last after the moment and it’ll be from the inside out. Get on a swing, just hang out at the playground and get on the monkey bars, etc. That may be easier said than done, but I’d like to think well worth it. πŸ™‚ Best wishes on this exciting journey!

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    • mewhoami says:

      Dancing in the rain sounds lovely. The thought of being a kid came to me yesterday as I watched some people acting goofy around me, but still I stayed stuck in place. It’s all about baby steps. Or perhaps certain types of fun is just not my type of fun, in which case I suppose that’s okay. My husband and I swing together at the park. πŸ™‚ That is fun!

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