You ever see a four-year-old walk into a room and declare, “Man! I am soooooo stressed out!”
There are a multitude of reasons that little kids aren’t stressed-out and inches away from little heart attacks, but one of them is because they tend to listen to their bodies. Mind you, this doesn’t happen consciously. Rather, they have the tendency to go with the flow; letting their bodies dictate when to go and when to crash. Fiction author Robin Brande calls this “living naturally.” In a recent blog post, she painted a wonderful picture of a friend’s daughter as an atom: pure energy. At one moment, the little girl was dancing with her dog and plowing through the living room on her tricycle, the next moment she crashed in her father’s lap and was out like a light. Robin observes:
That’s the most natural living any of us gets to see, the kind of living done by little kids and puppies. They eat when they’re hungry, they eat everything they need, they run around and use up all their energy to the very last drop, and then they sleep…They just live the way their bodies and minds and spirits tell them to live, moment to moment.
How true that is. Kids don’t need coffee to get themselves going in the morning or keep themselves awake so they can finish one more project. Americans are famous for putting in long work days, but I can’t help but wonder why, given all the time spent working, our quality isn’t always on par with the best in the world. Maybe we’re not listening to our bodies and we’re trying to do too much. Maybe we need to get back to basics and follow Robin’s example:
Yesterday after our hike I came home, took a shower, and crawled into bed. And slept for three solid hours. I didn’t worry about whether it would ruin my sleep that night, or what was going to happen with all that laundry out there waiting for me or that thick Sunday newspaper that needed reading. I turned off the phone, got in my jammies, took the mother of all naps.
What a happy girl was I.
Then spent the next few hours sitting in bed reading a book. Just like I didn’t care anymore! Just like I was a little girl again.
Just like I was allowed to.
Because I am. Because we all are.
That’s one of the best things about being a grown-up. We’re actually allowed to do these sorts of things. The problem is we don’t act like it. We have this little devil on our shoulder — carrying a full-blown case of Adultitis, by the way — telling us that we’ll ruin our sleep for the night, we’ll blow our diet and gain seven hundred pounds, the laundry won’t wash itself, our boss will fire us for not being more responsible, we’ll miss an important phone call from Ed McMahon, blah, blah, blah.
As I’ve said before, I’m in the permission business. If you’d like to, as Robin suggests, “Return to your roots as a 3 1/2-year-old and have chocolate milk and naptime and a few fish sticks if that’s what takes your fancy?”, I hereby give you official permission.
You’re a grown-up now. You have the power. No go start acting more like a kid.
[tags]childlike, Adultitis, permission, stress management, natural living, naps, Robin Brande[/tags]