If you wear dress socks to a Zoom meeting.
If you think the dictionary should be made into a movie.
If you were disappointed to learn that Fifty Shades of Gray was NOT a home decor manual.
These are signs that you might have Adultitis.
We like to have fun with it, but Adultitis is no joke.
No one would willingly drink poison guaranteed to destroy their health, strain their relationships, and sap the joy from their life. But that’s exactly what Adultitis does, and yet, most adults are infected with some form of it.
Why? How do we get stuck in its vile clutches when it’s obviously preferred to steer clear of its grasp?
The problem is falling into an either/or mindset. When we enter adulthood, we worry people won’t take us seriously. We want to be accepted as a responsible adult and prove we belong. We assume our childlike spirit is no longer of use. Unwilling to risk letting it sneak out and destroy all credibility, we overcompensate by stuffing anything childlike into a lockbox and pushing off a cliff. We use bigger words, talk about important things, and watch the news so we can sound smart.
Meanwhile, the jaws of Adultitis snap around us like a Venus flytrap. Another one bites the dust.
What almost no one tells us, and too many never figure out, is that our childlike spirit can serve as a powerful ally. In fact, it’s impossible to be happy or truly successful without a healthy childlike spirit.
Now, when people hear me talk about being childlike, they often hear childish. But there’s quite a difference between the two (as anyone with a husband can probably attest.)
But seriously, there are too many adults running around who never grew up. They throw tantrums when things don’t go their way. They are quick to call other people names (especially those they don’t agree with.) They spend a lot of time whining, never taking any responsibility for their own actions.
There are many good things about being an adult. (Not the least of which is the ability to order strawberry margaritas at a Mexican restaurant.) People doing life right embrace the benefits of adulthood, leaning on the experience and wisdom that can be accumulated from years of living. They are better masters of their emotions and can think and analyze on a higher level. They see the benefits of delayed gratification and the importance of discipline.
But these wise folks also let their childlike spark accompany them into adulthood, like a helpful partner. They don’t take themselves too seriously, which keeps them flexible and resilient. They stay curious and playful, which makes them innovative. They delight in the little things – instilling a spirit of gratitude that leads to happiness – while holding on to big dreams.
Smart people, healthy people, happy people… instead of operating with an either/or mindset, they have a both/and mentality.
As an adult, you have more agency to impact the world around you than you ever did when you were a kid.
But your childlike spirit is the necessary ingredient to ensure the impact you make is a positive one.
Indeed, the real recipe to life balance is an equal measure of adulthood wisdom and childlike spirit.
You need a little bit of broccoli and a little bit of cookie.
Which side needs a boost in your life?
If your best day ever involves spreadsheets…