Yesterday I was telling a friend of mine to relax, calm down, everything’s going to be okay. Today she made fun of me for telling her because clearly I’m the one with the problem. Yeah, yeah. I know, I know. So what is the problem and how did it come about?
Well, you see, according to the Adultitis intake, I have Stage 1 Adultitis, which is the mildest form. But I kinda think that’s inaccurate. I work with children, so I got some of the questions “right” just because of that. I feel like I cheated the system. Anyway, while I try to hang on to my inner child (and isn’t she adorable?), much of the demands of adulthood have wormed their way into my life, almost suffocating her at times.
I don’t know exactly when my OCD – undiagnosed as it is – began to kick in. But it’s become a problem. Order. Things have to be in order. Alphabetical. Chronological. What-makes-sense-to-me-ical. And I sort of freak out if it’s not.
The other problem is that I try to do too much at once. I tell myself it’s all doable. I make lists and check things off as I go (notice exhibit a), but then more things get added. And then more things get added. I do what I can, but I’ll never be done. I take on a lot of responsibility for several reasons:
1) I’ve been let down a lot, so one rule I live by is “if you want something done right you’ve got to do it yourself”
2) I need to keep myself busy so I don’t join a gang. Okay, so I’m really not in danger of joining a gang, but having too much alone time is really not good for me emotionally.
3) Because my life isn’t filled with people, I feel like I need to fill it with things.
Those reasons are valid, but they’re also dumb. Part of escaping adulthood, for me, means learning to trust other people, having spare time to fill with a moderate amount of me time and fun time (as opposed to stress time), and to simply be grateful for what I have and stop fretting over what I have not. I once had my life planned out. I really had no idea I’d be where I am today. Some things are so awesome I can’t explain it! How did I get here? But other things… well… how did I get here? John Lennon had it right when he said “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” I think I just need to find the happy medium between striving to create a better story and loving the story that’s already begun.
I know that kids have it all figured out. I’ve known this for a while but I haven’t been so good at putting in to practice. I count myself lucky to be involved with children on a regular basis. They keep me from going insane. They keep me from Stage 3 Adultitis. Just now my 5 1/2 month old nephew was crying. My sister put him on her lap and opened up a book for him. He stopped crying and began stroking the pages. Finding comfort in simple things. Yes, kids have it all figured out.
Aside from my nieces and nephews, friends’ children, and the preschool kids, I do have some other things in my life that help me nurture my inner child. I have a collection of children’s books. Sometimes I read them to children. Sometimes I read them to adults. Sometimes I read them to myself. And I always do the voices. (You’ve got read Skippyjon Jones with a Spanish accent, you see.)
I also have many toys, such as my flying Harry Potter, skateboarding alien, and my Han Solo action figure from 1984. Sweet. I have many stuffed animals: Princess the bunny rabbit, Fluffy the dog, and Yoda (not exactly an animal, but he’s stuffed). And I have a box of randomness from my childhood and youth that I’m not willing to part with.
So I think I’ve done okay up to this point. But I need to do better. And I’ve already started. Tonight after class at the University of Utah, I was walking back to the parking lot with 3 of my classmates, two of whom also saw Jason Kotecki present at the Utah Early Childhood Conference. We walked through the tunnel that goes under the road and Laura suggested we “escape adulthood” by yelling in the tunnel. Our 2 other friends didn’t join in. But Laura and I yelled and laughed! It was spontaneous, silly, and so much fun!
Tomorrow is a day of many papers to write for school, so I will be back on Thursday. That’s the day I will complete Challenge #1 and I can’t wait to tell you how it turns out!
Oh! For those inquiring minds, here’s the most recent picture I have of myself, for your viewing pleasure 😉
And just for fun, below I’ve written the lyrics to my favorite song from the musical “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” Really helps put life in perspective.
Happiness is finding a pencil, pizza with sausage, telling the time
Happiness is learning to whistle, tying your shoe for the very first time
Happiness is playing the drum in your own school band
And happiness is walking hand in hand
Happiness is two kinds of ice cream, knowing a secret, climbing a tree
Happiness is five different crayons, catching a firefly and setting him free
Happiness is being along every now and then
And happiness is coming home again
Happiness is having a sister, sharing a sandwich, getting along
Happiness is singing together when day is through
And happiness is those who sing with you
Happiness is morning and evening, daytime and nighttime too
For happiness is anyone and anything at all that’s loved by you