joy

The other day I was having a conversation with a friend about how frequently I was biking. I take a bike ride almost every day (although this week has been really bad in terms of weather, and biking in the rain isn’t too fun!), and I have even written a post about 9 Great Reasons Why You Should Bike, that’s how much I believe in this activity.

But the fact that I bike daily wasn’t the point. It’s the response I got when I asked this friend if they biked. The answer I got was “oh I haven’t biked since I was a kid! I’m an adult now, so I don’t bike.” I was taken back a little bit by this response. One, because it made it seem like only kids bike, and that’s not the case at all. But two, it made me think about how many things or activities we stop doing because we “grow up”.

As we become adults, we tend to give up all the silly fun stuff we used to like, and put all our focus on serious, more or less boring matters. We focus on bills, on the mortgage, on getting insurance, on reading about all the serious negative news around the world. Needless to say, this isn’t fun at all.

Why do you think people reminisce about their youth with almost a tear in their eye? Because, back then, things were fun….and now, things just aren’t fun anymore. We’ve lost that edge that made us creative and joyful along the way. We stopped doing the things that made us happy.

In part, it’s because that’s what we think being an adult is all about. We’ve seen our parents as we were growing up…they didn’t have much fun! So right there, we associate being an adult with what we saw our parents do when we were growing up. As well, this is what we see all around us. All we see is adults just working themselves to the bone, doing nothing creative and/or fun, until they can retire 30-40 years later to then do absolutely nothing. No wonder life is labeled as boring.

You will rarely find a kid say that life is boring. This is because kids live in the present moment (you don’t see a 12 year old be all teary-eyed about wanting to be 8 again!) and they do what makes them feel good. As we got older, we’ve stopped doing just that. We’ve given up our creative side, for a more practical one. Problem is, practical equals boring.

The key to bringing more joy into your life as an adult, is to reconnect with your inner child. You need to do things that used to make you happy that you gave up a long time ago because you had to cross to the “other side” into adulthood. My friend had given up riding a bike because it wasn’t what an adult does. However, I can guarantee you that a few hours on a bike, and this person will be having the time of their life!

I had given up biking too as I got into college and then university. I rediscovered it a few years back, and I can honestly tell you that it has made my life much more joyful than before. When I bike, I lose myself completely into the activity. When I go, I do not bring all my “adult problems” with me. It’s just me and the wind. It’s liberating, and it brings me back to when I was a kid and I still feel the same way about it as I did 15 years ago. That’s the power of doing something you enjoy.

What activities have you given up as you got older? I am certain that you can list at least 5 things that you enjoyed to do as a kid that you no longer do. How about you take 1 hour per week (that’s 0.5% of your week, so no excuses about no time for it!) to do what you used to enjoy so much. If you used to dance, how about you enroll in some dance classes once per week? If you used to love video games, why don’t you get yourself a PS3 or a Wii and see if you still got your mad gaming skills?

You have no idea how this can seriously transform your habitual, boring existence, into a more enjoyable and fun one. We don’t have to always be serious as adults. Sure, there is a time and place for it. But that was the case growing up too. We had school, where we had to be serious, and then after school was done for the day, we would go and have fun, doing whatever made us feel good. Today, our day in school is now our work day. But once work is done, what are you doing to have more fun?

A happier life is all about doing what gets you all excited. So don’t stop with just that 1 hour per week. Every couple of weeks, add another activity that you gave up a long time ago to your schedule. Perhaps you used to play an instrument? Maybe you used to love swimming? Whatever it is, you can reconnect with the joy it used to bring you as a child and allow it to bring you this joy as an adult.

By the way, don’t waste a second on how others around you may perceive this. So what if they tell you it’s silly? They don’t get it. Let them revel in their own miserable & uninteresting lives. If you want to go outside and skateboard, do it! If you want to build a sand castle when you are at the beach, just do it! Seriously, this is your life. You have this one life. It is your duty to make it as fun and as enjoyable as you can, regardless of what others may think.

I know that creative inner child is somewhere inside of you. You’ve repressed it for so long, but it is key for you to let it resurface once again, if you ever want to experience a joyful existence. Getting older doesn’t have to be depressing and sad. Life isn’t depressing, you make it this way! Life is whatever you want it to be. Do something you enjoy and your life will be enjoyable. That’s the bottom line. Break down the barriers that you put around yourself because you became an adult. Allow that free, fun, and fearless side of you to come out!