This Summer, Be a Kid Again

Although the truth of the matter may seem bleak, the up-side remains: you are very much alive at this very moment, glued to a computer screen you didn’t even know existed when you were five.

If you can remember, back then you were busy pretending the red pattern on the carpet was fire and you must jump over it! Otherwise the fire monster will get you! Yes, folks, I am talking about the good old days of Saturday morning cartoons and running around the playground. The days where the smallest accomplishment would make you go running to mom or dad and every project involved telling them, “Look Mommy! Look Daddy! Look!”

 Jostein Gaarder put it this way: “To children, the world and everything in it is new, something that gives rise to astonishment. It is not like that for adults. Most adults accept the world as a matter of course.” About the sense of wonder? I couldn’t have said it better. It’s important to remember we were all once young and full of excitement. But how can we simply put aside our important work, papers, calculations, and bills, and pretend to be six years old again? Is that possible? Preposterous! You need one thing, and one thing only, to recapture your childhood. It’s a simple thing known as: Your sense of fun.

Look at the work lying on the table right now. Fallen into a rut, have you? Here’s what you can do about it: Go for a walk. Look at the trees around you, the plants. The dogs in the neighborhood. There is probably a tree somewhere you have never really looked at. Is it climbable? Do you have children, nieces, nephews to climb it with? Look toward the sky and make up a story with the dragons, witches and clowns you see. Let your imagination (because I know you still have one) run wild. Remember the key word: fun!

Find crayons and paper and unleash your inner artist.  Remember drawing the classic house with a triangle and three rectangles? Do it. One of the best things about drawing as a child was having the freedom to make your grass blue and the sun purple–before the adults told us, “the sun is always yellow, dear.”

Play dress up. It would be amazing to do this with other kids in the house, a friend, or even a partner. Raid the closet for anything and everything colorful, funky and outrageous. Dress yourself up as the next superhero – tuck that towel into the back of your shirt and hum your own theme song as you zoom around the house. Don’t be afraid to look silly.

Go hunting for treasure. Do you remember how exciting it was to find a sand dollar on the beach, or to capture an exotic, brightly colored insect? There still remains a bountiful supply of rare (free) gems   all around us, just waiting to be collected. So even if you’re nowhere near the beach and the thought of bugs makes your skin crawl, always be on the lookout for treasure: it could be anything from an old pair of cowboy boots your neighbor tossed onto the sidewalk  to a pile of broken electronics with recycled art project written all over it.

Watch Saturday morning cartoons. The catch is, cartoons have changed since we spent morning hours glued to Cartoon Network. Order a DVD from Netflix or browse the channels on your TV till you find a cartoon worth watching. Here’s a tip: while watching old cartoons (like Johnny Quest, Scooby Doo, Animaniacs), try remembering why you liked them so much. The impossibility factor should account for something. How many times did Tom fall off walls and tables while chasing Jerry? Yet he always got back up.

Ice-cream. You know you love it. Now eat it like a five year old. Take that spoon and scoop up more ice cream than can fit in your mouth at once, or get an old fashioned sugar cone. Don’t be afraid to let it drip down your chin! Pour a generous amount of Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup onto it. Or sprinkles, walnuts, the works. Make it an ice-cream celebration.

It’s definitely amazing being a kid. It’s time to start looking at things from an entirely new perspective. When you do go back to your work, look at it the way a six-year-old might. You’ll be astonished with what you come up with. Here’s a start: Captain Planet was global and green before it was cool.

Photos by courosa, beccaplusmolly, and methyl_lives.

Ayesha Zahid I've lived in Pakistan and I've lived in America. Seeing two extremes makes me so much more of a writer than I could ever be. And spreading that is the most important thing to me right now.

View all posts by Ayesha Zahid

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