Life Is a Grand Adventure When You Let Your Inner Kid Shine

THERE COMES A TIME IN ALL OF OUR LIVES when we believe we must grow up and let go of childish ways. Pressure begins to build within our souls to mature, a daunting task with no rhyme or reason, only expectations.

We place these expectations on ourselves to match the pace at which the world moves. From a young age, we want nothing else than to be loved. Yet, for many of us, that means letting go of who we are to garner others’ acceptance.

Our I of yesterday fades as we tell ourselves, that’s no longer me.

Yet, the kid we once were stays with us and hangs on like our shadow, which changes shape as we ebb and flow through life’s different seasons.

When the day is clear and crisp as a winter wind, we feel free, as there are no clouds to obstruct the rays of the sun from shining on our skin. Our shadow too reveals itself on days like this; a childlike joy burns in our chest; we’re thankful to be alive.

But sometimes, the day is grey and cloaked in mystery. Yet, our shadow remains. It hides. All it takes is the light of the sun to make us see it once again.

At a certain age, life becomes a balancing act where, on the one hand, we still enjoy what made us happy when we were young.

On the other hand, we want to change. We want to fit in, to be cool, to be accepted. In conforming, we eschew our childish joys and hand over the key to our inner sanctum.

We want to look a certain way to be accepted to colleges, friend groups, sports teams, parties. But when we start to grow up, actually grow up, none of that matters anymore.

Life isn’t a popularity contest, as much as it seems to be. Life is about connecting with our essence, that integral part of us which never weakens but gets buried deeper the more we try to fit in.

That essence will guide us through life; it will keep us on course because it knows who we truly are and what we love. When we strive, day in and day out, to do what we love, all else will follow.

Our essence is the kid we once were; they’re our spirit, our fire.

They are ready to emerge again, yes, with a new perspective of life, but with the same wondrous joy derived from the little things that provide meaning.

When you connect with your inner kid who lived with a heart full of passion, you will find what makes life meaningful to you.

Were you happiest helping others in need, playing sports, creating inventions, cheffing up for parties, making people laugh, designing clothes, creating art, caring for animals?

Only you know the answer. Think about it and how you can apply that love to your life right now.

We must rekindle the spark between the I of present and the I of our youth.That kid inside us is our eternal essence that can turn any day into an adventure.

That’s what life is, a journey that many have forgotten how to enjoy. Yes, there comes a time early in our lives when we must begin to mature. But maturing doesn’t mean forgetting what it means to be a kid.

Maturing means being open to intellectual and emotional growth to see the world from others’ eyes.

I heard a great line that one of the essential marks of maturity is not being critical of people who are critical of you.

Everybody is going through something; what others think of us is rarely even about us. It’s likely something deeper we aren’t aware of.

Not everybody will accept or agree with what we do, yet while we should remain respectful, we must let go of what others think.

That’s what it means to grow in this world. While we should respect others, we mustn’t live to please them. To be mature is to be you, and let that kid within you shine.

When I was young, my friends and I saw each day as an adventure. Our imaginations ran rampant, where each languid summer’s day or those coveted weeks in the heart of winter held the potential, from dawn until dusk, of being full of play.

At the end of a well-fought day, grass and dirt scuffed our clothes; they exuded that honorable smell of sweat and backyard battles.

I’d often spend hours with my nose in one of my favorite fantasy books by Darren Shan, from either the Cirque Du Freak or the Demonata series. I hungrily turned each page, enraptured by these spooky worlds.

My friends and I would play video games for as long as my parents would allow in a fortress of mattress cushions or the recesses of the under-stairs coat closet.

Behind the veil of potent leather and cotton which hung like the threshold into Narnia, there was just enough space for a small TV and a few sleeping bags. What more could we want?

As a young adult striving to find my way in this world, writing has been a blessing. It’s allowed me to honestly think about who I am and what I care about.

I’ve thought about who I was as a kid and what I loved — getting lost in fantasy worlds, playing backyard sports, watching old cartoons, reading with passion, and writing with zest — these activities made life-enriching.

That love remains in my heart.

I remember a specific thought I had when I began questioning myself and what it means to mature. I wondered what kinds of adults wrote the fantasy books I read or created the shows I watched.

Did they appreciate what they were creating, or were they just doing their job?

As somebody striving to design a life doing what lights my soul on fire, I think now, at least in my subjective way, I have an idea.

One day, my dad said Spongebob is the best kids show ever made. That moment stuck with me. Some of what was in the show I didn’t even understand, but my dad did, and we laughed hysterically side by side on the couch.

I realized the creators of these shows were still kids doing what they were meant to do — making people laugh.

The innovators of our modern age were once kids with wild imaginations. Some of my favorites — J.R.R. Tolkien, Frank Herbert, Ray Bradbury, and Darren Shan, even the creators of kids shows like Spongebob — they never lost their love of fantasy.

They used their incredible imaginations to better understand our world; sometimes in the most dire of circumstances.

Life affects us all. Some will give in and surrender, and others will take their situation and fight; they will wonder, they will keep taking one step after the other with a fervor for living burning within their soul.

J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, began his earliest works of creating unimaginably intricate worlds and complex languages during his time serving in WWI. Tolkien wrote:

No matter how wonderful the safety of your home is at the moment, remember that it’s not promised forever. Evil is alive and well in the world, and it is on the march. You can choose to stay in comfort and pretend that evil doesn’t exist. Or you can band together with your friends, go out into the world, and face, fight, and overcome evil in all of its forms. That is the ultimate call to adventure.

His incredible story is an example of how his imagination became his lifeline. His love of fantasy was a reason to keep fighting, as he saw life as the extraordinary experience that it is.

In the ugliest war the world had ever seen, J.R.R. Tolkien still sought to create and fill the world with hope. He turned to doing what he loved, writing, and creating languages out of thin air when the world around him turned to dust.

As our world crumbled, he created another.

The world we live in has its structure, its rules, its expectations. But the ones who innovate and change the world make their own rules.

Before we grow up and are fit inside a mold like everybody else, we’re individuals who see life as the adventure that it is. To reconnect with the kid we once were is to heed the call of adventure.

Remember who you were, who you are, and think about how to incorporate that passion you felt as a kid back into your life if you feel you’ve lost it. When we maintain a childlike joy for living and strive to do what we love, all else will follow.

We’re capable of overcoming more, doing more, being more than we ever could have imagined.

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