Grow Up Without Getting Old

“Life begins as a quest of the child to become a man, and ends as a journey by the man to rediscover the child.” ~ Laurens van der Post, The Lost World of the Kalahari … 

It is easy for me to remember a time in which my friends and I could not wait to grow up and to be able to drive cars, receive special privileges, and do whatever we were in the mood to do whenever we wanted to. And although we dutifully learned from our parents, from our teachers, and from our elders that which was necessary for us to grow up, somewhere along the road we lost sight of the important things that make us who we are.

Growing up is a beautiful thing. Through the process, we become more independent and self-sufficient, and as we start to make our own decisions in life, we gain a level of freedom from society and begin to enjoy respect from our fellow human beings for our knowledge and opinions. As an adult, if I wish to take the day off of work because it is beautiful outside, or I wish to spend some time with my wife and children, that is my choice.

Yet as I gained these freedoms and benefits, I lost much of the wonders I once had as a child. I am not referring to the screaming, crying, or the immaturity, rather, I am talking about the wonder and awe I felt for all the amazing things of this Earth: the ability to trust life and everything in it; to marvel at the sensations of sight, sound, touch, and taste and hold no prior judgments towards anyone or anything. The ability to not care about what others think of me, or how they interpret my actions; and to be so open and willing as to allow others to help me.

As a child we allow our innocence to be an important part of who we are, and we act from that innocence. But as adults, we tend to lose that innocence and instead act unethically and immorally. I therefore find myself as an adult, trying ever so hard to pursue those qualities I once possessed as a child. I want to be able to have fun without worrying about what other people think. I want to look at other human beings with interest and without judgment. I want to be able to be enchanted and amazed, and to be honest with my words and feelings. And I especially want to be in touch with the innocence that could be such an important part of my life and allow me to feel all the other positive aspects of life like it was when I was a child.

Do one fun thing you used to do as a kid, regardless of what others may think or say to embarass you.

Questions to consider:

What is the difference between “childlike” and “childish”?

Why do people teach us as we are growing up that it is important for us not to act like children anymore?

How might we go about reclaiming some of the important parts of our childhoods?

For further thought:

“Youth is a circumstance you can’t do anything about. The trick is to grow up without getting old.” ~ Frank Lloyd Wright

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Filed under Commentary, Food For Thought, Living, Opinion

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