Gee I loved being a kid. Living for the moment, laughing for the sheer joy of doing so, letting my imagination run wild, not trying to be someone I wasn’t, saying “yes I can do that” to everything I wanted to try, even if I wasn’t any good at it. I didn’t have to worry about getting a job, a relationship, or paying off a mortgage. Nor did I realize that, while I was playing, I was also learning all the basics of life – how to talk, read, write, make my arms, legs, and eyes work together, play by the rules my friends and I made up on the spot and – best of all – negotiation skills, convincing my parents to buy sweets and toys. Problems were resolved by a motherly hug or going without dessert. Those were the days my friend, I thought they’d never end.
But they did.
Life became serious. Parents, friends and teachers carefully taught me what I had to do to succeed in the harsh world of reality. Having fun became a waste of time that could be much more usefully put to earning serious money. I was told to forget silly kid stuff, like jumping, drawing, singing, acting and doing roly-polies down a grassy hill. Instead, look around at what the adults are doing… copy them…don’t be different or people will think you’re dumb. Get a real job. Become a doctor, lawyer, teacher, engineer – anything that makes people look at you in awe.
So I did.
I started taking courses I didn’t want to do. I did degrees that were going to take me somewhere, but got me nowhere. I started getting assessed – for the right school, right friends, right sport, right university, right job, right partner…the right path to whatever other people told me would take me down that glorious road to success, fulfillment and happiness. And no, I didn’t always get chosen. I often wasn’t good enough, qualified enough, wealthy enough, talented enough, dressed well enough, intelligent enough, or trained enough.
Then I started to see the light.
What I was getting enough of was stressed, pressured, changed, controlled, confused, uncertain, and misguided. The one life I had was slipping by fast. I was reaching each of “the big 0’s” faster and faster. Finally, I hit the big 6-0 – when bosses tell you: “you’re too old to work anymore. Go find a nice pasture. Book into God’s waiting room where you can pass the time until you die”.
That’s when I exploded.
“Enough is enough is enough!!!” It’s time for me to be me – the me I always wanted to be when I was a child. It hit me that life in my 60s had much in common with life in my childhood. I didn’t have to worry about a job (though I could work if I wanted to), or a mortgage (it was under control) or even a relationship (I was happily married). I could do anything I felt like doing – even if I wasn’t any good at it. I could become a kid again. And this time it could be even better. I now had the benefit of a lifetime of experiences – good and bad – and even a little money on which to build my childhood dreams, skills, fun, interests, and plans.
So I have become a kid again.
I am free to do as I please, when I want, with whom I want, for as long as I wish and at the pace I like. I don’t have to be good at what I do. I just lose myself in the joy of the moment, laughing for the sheer pleasure of doing so, letting my imagination run wild, being the me I always wanted to be.
I love it. I am learning, growing, and blossoming into a truly successful person. I now know happiness is the journey, not the end and that life is what you make of it, right this minute.