When I was younger, I would stare at 20-something-year-olds and think, ‘wow, they’re all grown up, they have it together – that must be nice’. Now, it’s almost laughable how I truly believed that things would just fall into place once you hit a certain age; that things would be smooth sailing from that point on.
I think what no one ever tells us is that that magical point doesn’t exist. Growing up and being ‘mature’ is something of a life-long effort. This is especially if you’re like me and are a kid at heart – you’ll need to constantly remind yourself that ‘no, certain things just aren’t deemed acceptable at this age’.
I will admit, I did try it for a couple of years. I tried to fit in, do adult-y things and behave myself. At the end of it all, I was bored, miserable and broke. I had set myself up to fail by thinking that I absolutely had to behave a certain way and enjoy doing certain things.
I am more than pleased to admit that now, 3 years later, I am 3 years wiser and have realized that growing up and being society’s idea of ‘mature’ is overrated. Life just feels so much better when you keep your spirit and mind young.
Stay up past your bedtime…
Even when you know you have work or school the next day. We’re not telling you to do this every single day though, or you’re going to find yourself burnt out. Remind yourself, however, to break the rules sometimes. Remember how as a small child, staying up an extra 30 minutes past your bedtime felt all kinds of exciting? Do that sometimes. Watch an extra episode of your favourite TV show, go for that late night drive with your friends. Whatever it is that’s keeping you from your bedtime – do it.
You’re going to feel a little more tired than you normally would the next day, but you know what? We promise you you’ll have a much better time making memories, rather than being cooped up in bed trying to regulate your sleeping pattern. Hey, your sleep debt can wait till tomorrow. Right now, this exact moment and opportunity to just be with your friends? It isn’t going to be replicated.
These moments are fleeting. Don’t allow yourself to forget that time isn’t going to wait around for you to catch up on sleep or whatever else it is you need to do, before you make time for the people that matter. Foster these relationships. Make time for them. Don’t think that growing up means you have to stop having fun.
Laugh out loud…
Like, actually laugh out loud. Don’t just punch in the letters L-O-L onto your phone or computer with that deadpan expression painted on your face. Laugh aloud and be proud about it. So many times, we stifle our laughter ’cause we’re out and alone. We’re worried the people around us are going to judge us and think we’re crazy for laughing to ourselves. The audacity! Laughing aloud in public.
Stop holding it in. If you see something that makes you chuckle, or if your friend is telling you a bad joke via text, allow yourself to laugh. Does it really matter what the stranger seated next to you thinks of you? No. You’re, quite frankly, never going to see them again. So, why hold in a good laugh?
If being mature means I can’t throw my head back and laugh whenever I please, I’m pretty sure I don’t want to be a part of this whole ‘adult’ thing.
Cry as loud as you laugh…
One of the things I’ve noticed that comes with adulthood, is we’ve become so afraid of showing any kind of emotion. As a child, when something went wrong, we had no problem sinking to the ground and bawling our eyes out. Our parents would eventually come around, pick us up off the floor and we’d eventually fall asleep, exhausted from all the sobbing we’d done.
While you definitely shouldn’t think it okay to fall to floor in the middle of a work day and bawl, flailing your arms and legs about, don’t fool yourself into thinking you’re not allowed to cry at all. We get so wrapped up with the idea that crying or showing any strong emotion is a sign of weakness, that we tend to bottle everything up. Trying to hold everything together all of the time is just about the worst plan you could possibly have.
It’s okay to cry once in awhile – you’ll actually feel better after you’re done. For one, you won’t feel like you need to pretend everything is okay if it isn’t. And two, your body releases endorphins (the feel good hormone) after a good cry, to counter the pain you’re feeling. So go ahead, grab some tissues and let loose.
You’re going to grow old, but you don’t have to grow up…
You can’t fight the fact that your body is going to age, that’s for sure. However, there’s no good reason to lose the magic associated with being young. Don’t let yourself forget how you felt as a child – there was always somewhere to be explored and the littlest of things sent shivers of excitement down your spine.
Too often, we allow ourselves to get caught up in the daily chores of living, that before we know it, we’re 50 and have no idea where our whole lives have gone. The thought of that frightens me, and as the days turn to months and the months into years, I need to remind myself never to let myself ‘grow up’. I’m going to spend every moment I can laughing my loudest, crying my hardest, staying up past my bedtime and making all the memories I possibly can.
Life is going to happen. We’re going to need to get a job and make something of ourselves. While this all is well and good, I’m going to make sure I don’t lose my soul while I’m at it.