Being Young

For a long time, well into my 30s, I thought I had to act a certain way to be considered a responsible adult. I thought that there were only certain things “responsible adults” did, and anything that didn’t put me squarely into that category shouldn’t be done at all. I was taking my cue from other adults that I was surrounded by, trying to emulate them, but I often found myself dissatisfied with my life. Whenever I would take up an interest in something that was outside the realm of what a “responsible adult” should be interested in, reactions from other adults ranged from mild contempt to outright scorn. It took me a while, but at the ripe old age of 41, I feel secure enough in who I am to say that I wish to reject the notion of the “responsible adult” completely.

While I have family responsibilities, a solid career, and an active social life, those are all the things that are expected of me to a degree. But why end things there? Why can’t I be more than that simply because I want to be a person that I like and respect? Bob Goff, a Christian author, has this whole theology about being whimsical and living in the moment as much as possible, because… well, it’s fun. We only have so much time given to us in this life. Why not spend some of it having fun just for the sake of having fun?

So where does that leave me on my personal journey? Well, I’ve decided that I’m going to learn all the silly little skills that I’ve always wanted to learn, just because they’re fun things to do. On my learning list, I want to learn how to juggle, do some card tricks, play some music on a ukulele, and several other fun things that can be used to create a sense of joy and wonder, for not only myself but others as well. If I can learn things like that well enough that I can confidently “perform” in front of others, that gives me the opportunity to create whimsey all by myself. I heard a quote several years ago that said something to the effect of “If I know how to do things, I can be useful to others.” I think that’s a great way to think about it. If I can have the know-how to make a magical moment for someone else and have a grand time of it myself, that’s a worthy goal, and in that, we both win.

So, in conclusion, be young. Don’t value yourself on the basis of how others estimate your worth. The truth is, those folks are probably trying to mimic other “responsible adults” that are in their sphere and push those expectations onto you. Do the silly things that make you happy. Not everything in life has to be some sort of SMART goal. Some things can be done just for the value that comes with the pleasure of doing something enjoyable. Build that Lego set, climb a tree, or jump in a lake. Make your time count for something greater than your job. Make it count for your family, your community, and yourself. Thanks for reading.