Have you ever looked around and wondered why no one seems to be having fun? Do you spend time thinking about how simple pleasures were so much more enjoyable when you were younger? Do you reminisce with friends about how great it was to be a kid because you had nothing to worry about?
I remember being a child and feeling like I couldn't wait to be an adult because I would get to do what I wanted to, whenever I wanted to do it. Even then I knew that being able to make my own choices was going to give me freedom and in my mind, freedom equaled fun.
Yet here I am (all grown up) wondering why other adults aren't making choices that bring more fun and ease into their lives. They act as though struggling and stressing are necessary if you want to be seen as a successful person with a full life. They complain about how busy they are and say they don't have time to do anything but work and be serious. Unfortunately, they don't seem to recognize that they have the freedom to make other choices. There are ways that they can make an effort to experience life like a child in order to bring more fun and enjoyment into their lives.
1. Enjoy the small things.
Think back to when you were a child -- it was the small things that got you excited and happy. An ice pop, a substitute teacher, pizza for dinner or a quarter for something from the gumball machine (my favorite) are examples of something that would have made your day when you were younger, but would they make your day now?
We often don't even recognize or appreciate the small things in life today and turn them into problems instead. Do you get excited when you go out to dinner or do you worry about the money you're spending? Do you wake up looking forward to the day ahead or do you just start thinking about all the tasks you need to complete?
Don't always expect that it is going to take something big and bold to boost your mood. Pay more attention to the small things in your day and take the time to appreciate and enjoy them. Some things that you can work on appreciating are hearing your favorite song on the radio, a day with no bills in the mail or a text from a good friend. And remember -- you can always keep a box of ice pops in the freezer to pick you up on those extra-tough days!
2. Pay attention to the people around you.
Who do you choose to spend your time with? Are the people in your life also people who choose struggle and stress over freedom and ease? If so, then it's probably time to surround yourself with new people. As a child, your mom was probably always warning you to pick out good friends and to stay away from the troublemakers! You probably didn't enjoy being around kids who were mean anyway and you wanted to spend time with the adults in your life who made you feel good instead of always yelling or telling you what to do.
As an adult, you need to make sure that you are spending your time with people who make you feel good. Assess your friendships -- if you are spending time around a lot of negative people, then that negativity is going to work its way into your system. Are there positive people in your life that you haven't spent time getting to know better? Start paying more attention to how you feel when you're with others because if you're not feeling happy with them, then it's time to start spending time with somebody different.
3. Choose what you do based on how you want to feel.
When you were a child, you pretty much chose what you wanted to do based on whether or not you were going to have fun doing it (and if your parents said it was OK). Remember play time at school? You chose the activity that would be the most fun in that moment. If you wanted to play with dolls then that's what you did. If you wanted to color a picture, then you chose that instead. And when you got bored, you switched to a different activity. There was no analyzing the options or deep thought about how to enjoy your time, and you didn't worry about what other people were saying about your choices.
Today as adults, we focus so much on other people's opinions when choosing what to do, that we forget we can make choices that will allow us to have more fun in our lives. Take the time to think about how something is going to make you feel when you do it, and use that to make your decision on whether or not it is something you need to do.
So my challenge this week for you is to choose one of these ways to experience life more like a child, and make it a point to try it out every day for a week. See how it makes you more aware of how you can have more fun and appreciate the freedom in your life. Let me know in the comments how you plan to put more fun into your life!