“If submitting to the expectations of our surroundings means growing up, I’ll try wholeheartedly to refuse.”
– Satanic Surfers “What Ever”
As a 31-year-old man who has more toys in his office than Joey Gladstone on Full House, I know a thing or two about fighting the urge to grow up.
People make fun of me for my love of the Disney store, Ninja Turtles, my Super Nintendo collection, and my obsessively robust knowledge about 90s pop culture, but these frivolous things make me happy.
I’ve had so many people in my life tell me that I seem so laid back and content and that I bring a pretty positive aura with me wherever I go. I laugh often and I’m sentimental about people and things. I find so much to love about life and existence that I want to be a keystone of peaceful living where possible.
If that makes me a man-child or delusional or all of the psychological profiles of someone clinging to their childhood, then so be it.
Here are my reasons why it’s not such a bad thing to be in touch with your inner child.
Dreams are Precious
The moment your life ceases having ambition it also ceases having meaning.
You should always hang on to your goals and your dreams and your visions of an ideal future.
Growing up means favoring practicality over whimsy, and I don’t subscribe to that tired notion.
The Death of Imagination
Just like dreaming, creativity is a wholly human device. Part of the joy of living comes from inventing things that express your innermost personality.
Children have wild imaginations and adults tend to stay grounded. This is the burden of responsibility.
I insist that there should be no end to imagination. Progressive, obscure, and otherworldly thoughts should always be nurtured.
A Disdain For Convention
Convention is the death of individuality. Your life path should only parallel another’s if that’s what makes you feel whole and happy.
Too many of us judge our own happiness beside the roads most people travel, but this is an errant philosophy.
Don’t worry about the milestones you hit and when. They should occur naturally. It’s part of life whether you’re a child or an adult.
Most of my life is spent defying convention in the face of scrutiny. Fuck you if you impede someone else’s happiness.
I’m comforted in the fact that I’m free to do as I please.
Love me or hate me, I will always be me.
Like convention, routine harms humanity to its core. Children aren’t afraid of doing the wrong thing or trying something new.
It’s somewhat hypocritical to make this claim as a person who lives with obsessive-compulsive disorder. My comfort thrives with the simplicity of unwavering routine.
I’ve found that defying my safe routines, however, inspires confidence and builds growth from within.
Like my cross country living experiences and lone social adventures, escaping the ordinary gives you limitless opportunities to make yourself better.
A Reawakening of Fun
I marvel at how carefree and jovial a child can be in even the most mundane of scenarios. They never stop finding ways to stay occupied and have fun.
I’m envious of the days I could sit on the floor of my bedroom for hours, whiling the time away building out intricate story lines for all of my action figures.
It’s so wonderful to find time in your life to play.
These days, it comes in the form of drunken dancing or the few sweet hours a week I get to do goofy crafts with loved ones or play video games, but the need is fulfilled.
Staying Young at Heart
As I’ve experienced much death and deterioration in recent months with my 2 surviving grandparents either extremely frail or now having passed on, I have renewed interest in the idea of staying young at heart.
They both loved long, full lives and got the chance to raise successful children, travel, and be around people who loved them.
These joys are often forgotten in the adult world because of responsibilities, money trouble, and career stresses.
I choose to and implore you to choose to make a concerted effort to not let the woes of your life get you down. Find some time to be free of worry and full of life.
Take that road trip. Go grab a 3am pizza slice. Swing on the monkey bars. Do whatever it takes to feel young again.
There’s too many people I know in their 30s who act like their life is a cookie cutter record on repeat.
Your life is not over. It’s only just begun.
Don’t lose that zest for life that you once had. Don’t let the time slip away. You never know what could happen tomorrow.