One of my biggest challenges as an adult, was to remember, and even on occasion, find the child in me. Don’t think for one minute that I don’t laugh or don’t have a sense of humour – of course I do and those who know me can attest to this fact. My problem is though that I am not really a ‘playful’ person, and that is what is very bad.
I first became aware of this when Vanessa, my friend, my mentor and my guide though life said to me “Play with your child!” I remember how confused I was as I do not have children except of the feline variety and Vanessa knows this very well. I am a very literal person you see and even thinking about a little child in the adult me is really very foreign and quite disturbing.
It was quite a challenge I must tell you and one that I am quite sure that I have not yet mastered (despite my best efforts), but it meant me going back to my childhood and remembering the things that I enjoyed doing as a child. It meant not only remembering those things but also remembering how I felt when I was engaged in those activities and then of course it meant recreating those activities and feelings in the here and now.
Therein lay my own personal challenge. You see as a child I was without boundaries when I played. I did not think about how silly I might look, or whether people were looking at me or judging me or judging what I was doing, I reveled in my childish play and I had fun, unashamed fun. Whether adults joined in my childish laugher made absolutely no difference to me and in fact I was most happy when there were no adults around to put boundaries around my play. I did not have to play in the ‘reality’ type world, but could do so in the imagination and in the abstract and believe me, I had imagination enough to support anything and everything!
Where and when had I lost the ability to let myself go completely, in wild abandon and just enjoy the feeling of absolute freedom to be myself, of just being me? Where and when had I lost the reality of not caring about what others thought or whether they participated or not? Where and when had I lost the ability to live in the ‘now’ rather than worry about the consequences of yesterdays actions or the planning of tomorrow? Where and when had I lost the confidence in myself to just be me?
I cannot answer any of these and indeed it doesn’t really matter where and when it was lost. What matters now is that I return back to those moments from time to time.
What is important now is that I am able to disengage from the adult world and for a short time, play and feel like a child again.
What is important now is that I am able to engage with the child in me to feel the unencumbered joy of not being an adult, of not having the responsibility of my every day world, but the unrestricted, unfettered freedom of my childhood.
What about you? Do you ever “play” with the child in you?