The lack of fun as you get older


Submitted By Eliza Janssen

Easier to be carefree with white cowboy boots!

When we were kids, the common theme was fun. Fun birthday parties, fun playdates, fun school days. We had recess and naps and snacks at the tip of our fingers. As we got older, those birthday parties turn more into close friends and family gathering for a day, and then it’s over. I remember preparing and planning my birthday parties. I would have one party for friends, and one party for family. It had to cost a ton of money, but my parents did it so I would be happy. Another thing I remember was the excitement about Christmas Day. Opening presents was the highlight of my year.
Now, my birthdays consist of me inviting people, and everyone working or out of town. Then I end up spending a day with my dad and sister (which, granted, is still amazing) instead of fun-packed, screaming children eating cake. I dread Christmas Day, because that means that the Christmas season is over, and there are no more lights or trees. Our dogs hate us and want us to suffer, so we have to take our tree down immediately so they don’t destroy it. This lack of childlike wonder and fun is devastating. Losing our childhood is one of the more painful experiences in my opinion, even more so when it makes holidays feel dreary.
As we age, we’re expected to think about more serious things, like what we want to do with our future. And no, a princess rockstar won’t cut it anymore. The dreary thoughts of the future clouded the sun of childhood. Adulthood is seen as a dreary time by a lot of people, but the loss of childlike innocence along the way isn’t talked about as much. Mental health seems to be inversely related to age.
As kids, we grow up thinking about how much cotton candy we can buy and how we can do whatever we want, but we don’t think about taxes or budgeting or mortgages. We are told that we don’t need to know what we want to do after high school right now, but as kids we are asked again and again what we want to be when we grow up. This trained us to be worried about our futures. We are supposed to make our most important decisions, but we are also supposed to be ‘teenagers’ and have fun. The teetering of these two expectations makes it hard to ‘just relax’ and ‘not worry’. The constant question of our future brought our concerns to the forefront of our minds, especially when we got to a mere 4 years away from college.
The Nobel laureate and playwright George Bernard said: “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing”. In the new year coming up, we should try to embrace our inner child and let it out when we feel comfortable. Just because we stopped playing doesn’t mean we have to grow up all the way just yet.