By Seamus Anthony
As you get a little bit older year-by-year you may find that your responsibilities seem to grow and grow, and so too does your desire to meet these responsibilities head on. Which is all very well, and probably for the best, but at what cost to your Inner Child and therefore your happiness and enjoyment of the moment?
When I was in my twenties I didn’t give a stuff about anything I was apparently “supposed” to do and happily left all practical matters to chance in order to give myself the time to enjoy doing the things I wanted to do (from the noble, like create fine music, to the less-noble, which we won’t go into now thank you very much).
Oh … ok, one story of my bad behaviour – but then straight to bed you hear kiddies?
The Other Extreme: Spoiling Your Inner-Child
My Dad went halves with me to buy my first car, nothing flash mind you, but we both put in $750 each which was a lot of money for both of us. I had an awesome time in my little run-around, flying all over town whooping it up, but after a year or so it started crying out for a bit of TLC. It needed oil and a tune-up, but that was far too bothersome for my 21 year old mind to focus on, so I just drove that baby right into the ground. I will never forget the noises it used to make as you turned a corner: some very disturbing, dry grinding sounds would emanate from the engine, along with a little black smoke and a worrying perfume.
Then the poor old thing just wouldn’t start one morning so I swore, shrugged and caught a bus, leaving the car in the driveway to sort its own problems out.
About six months later my folks came for a rare visit to our share-house (bomb-site more like it) and my dear old Pa just about had a heart attack when he saw what appeared to be the roof of a car poking out from amongst a particularly impressive weed patch.
Needless to say he never gave me money for a car again.
Inner Children Need Love Too
Well fast -forward fifteen years and while I am certainly no saint, I am far more responsible. And so I should be; I have a (real) child to bring up after all.
But while when I was younger I was far too obsessed with spending all my time engrossed in creative and fun activities, these days I have to watch that I don’t swing to the other extreme and just spend all day and most of the night grinding through “important” task after task at the expense of being creative for the hell of it. I need to remember that I actually have two children to look after; it’s just that the one inside my heart isn’t as persistently vocal about getting the attention it craves!
For sure, some of my tasks are inherently fun, and I am working very hard towards earning a full-time living doing stuff that I either enjoy or at least don’t despise, but nevertheless, I now find it very hard just to pick up my guitar and strum away for an hour or two for no immeditate purpose or gain other than creative enjoyment. I do it, but not as often as I used to, and not with as much guilt-free abandon as I used to.
And this is sad.
Why? Because if we don’t allow the Inner Child in us to have free reign over our time on a regular basis, then it will only lead to misery and premature aging. I am sure of it.
I am writing this now because as well as currently feeling a very strong need to set new stretch-challenges for myself (see this post, which I will be writing an update on soon) I am also feeling a strong calling to allow myself more time to enjoy doing creative things purely for the sake of it, just because it is what I most love to do.
Of course being creative is just my way of having fun; your Inner Child might prefer to take you skydiving or down to the water to catch a delicious Bass but I think that as the world constantly bombards us with messages of fear and worry about money and security, that it’s really important to leave it all in the office on a regular basis and just have some carefree fun.
It’s not a revolutionary concept, I know, but – damn – it’s an easy one to let slide ain’t it?
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