“You don’t stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing.” Michael Pritchard
The potential for something really sad to happen occurs as we grow up. Somewhere along the way from footie pajamas to adulthood, we lose not only our baby teeth, but also our whimsy — our ability to dream or take chances.
Kids don’t need to be told to delight. They don’t need to be told that they can do anything they want or that the world is marvelous or that blanket forts are the best kind of past-time. They don’t have to be told to enjoy sweets when they’re treated to them, or to use their imagination with simply toys. Somewhere along the path to adulthood a lot of that has the tendency to get lost.
Adventures are replaced with lists, love is replaced with pressure (after all, everyone else is married) and our dreams are replaced with a watered down, tiresome version – what everyone else thinks is realistically possible for you to do.
We’re told to grow up and to take things seriously, which is important in the right context! Don’t get me wrong; but when “serious” just doesn’t have to happen, why would we want it to? The world that we live in is a place that is overflowing with delight and beauty and things to enjoy. It’s far to easy to let that reality get squashed with all the bad things that happen today. If you are a Christian, I say this: God is Sovereign. We are only passing through this time, eternity with Him is our real home. So I encourage you not to get bogged down, weighed down, by the negativity in the world. Trust the Lord, He is present with you. And I think He calls us to love and joy and dancing.
As an adult, we get to roam freely in places that are so full of lovely things — things just waiting to be played in, tested out and explored. We have the freedom, but we don’t always take advantage of it. Each day, we must choose between delight and whimsy, and wearing our responsibilities heavily on our chest (and our faces).
The death of our hopes and dreams is not necessarily a rite of passage. It doesn’t have to be that way. Responsibility and being able to rent a car doesn’t have to come at the price of joy and whimsy and dancing when the moment is right (or even when it’s not). We don’t have to ditch a lighthearted attitude as we go about the seemingly mundane and “adult” things on our plate. The ability to use your imagination, or try a new recipe for dinner (much like building a fort would be), or exploring a new side of town in search of a good dessert.
While we shouldn’t abandon maturity or a refuse to take responsibility, the world does not need to become dark and cold and start to resemble a constant board meeting. I have to believe that the “fullest life” that comes with Jesus doesn’t mean that. No, it doesn’t mean you ignore what you are accountable to, it may just mean that you try not to lose a childlike joy of living. No matter how old we get, we should still be able to see that cozy, matching pajamas are the very definition of cozy and that blanket forts are the best way to spend a Saturday morning.
The truth is, joy and laughter and sleepovers with our best friends aren’t things that have to be traded in with your braces. Thick, pressing, adult responsibility does not have to steal your ability and desire to dance in the kitchen, take a weekend adventure, or use your imagination in creative ways. The world is beautiful and fun, and life has the chance to be so full. I can’t think of a better way to enjoy it than to walk around with dreams in my head, a song in my heart, cake in my hair and shoes left far behind.
Rediscover what you delight in.