Your team is in bad shape. Here you are in the playoffs, and you’re losing. Even though you’re somehow only down by six points, nothing is going right. You were flying high earlier in the game, leading by two scores. Everything was clicking.
A turnover and two huge penalties gave your opponent some easy scores. None of the plays you’re calling are working. Your best running back got injured and is out for the game. Your players are growing more discouraged as each second melts off the clock. Now the other team has the ball and they’re driving down the field. If they score a touchdown—and your team is showing no sign of preventing it—this game is over.
Stay with me on this metaphor; we’re going somewhere. You might not be a football coach—or even care about football—but perhaps this sounds eerily similar to life right now.
Everything was going well. Finances were in good shape. Things at work were looking up. You and your spouse were on the same page. The kids were getting along.
Your spouse got sick and has been out of commission for over a week now. All of a sudden, your kids’ teachers decided to team up and go for the world record for most homework assignments. The dishes in the sink are a food-encrusted skyscraper. Your children are expertly pushing one another’s buttons and tempers are flaring.
Adultitis is winning hard.
But let’s go back to our imaginary football game…
Your opponent is only twenty yards from the end zone. A field goal could ice the game, a touchdown will undoubtedly send your team home for the offseason.
Their quarterback drops back to pass. He’s got a receiver wide open at the goal line and lets the ball go. Out of nowhere, your safety cuts in front and intercepts the pass! He’s got ninety-five yards of open grass ahead of him…as he streaks down the sideline, the crowd erupts into delirium. You’re jumping up and down and your arm is like a windmill, waving him toward the end zone. He crosses the goal line, scores a touchdown, and ties the game! The stadium is shaking as your players sprint on the field to celebrate.
You still need to kick the extra point to take the lead, but one thing is certain.
Momentum has shifted.
There’s not much more exciting for a team on the brink than a game-altering “pick six” like I just described. For the sportsball ambivalent, a “pick” is slang for “interception” and the “six” denotes how many points a team scores on a touchdown.
Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to summon one of those up in real life, when Adultitis has a stranglehold on you and your family?
Well, you can.
That’s exactly how we use “Pajama Runs” in our household. When Adultitis is having its way with us and everything seems to be going wrong, Kim and I pull out pots and wooden spoons and start banging on them. Our kids know the sound. The mood in the house immediately changes as everyone hurries to the car—even if they are in their pajamas—and we head out for ice cream.
We typically only do this a few times a year, but it always does the trick. Momentum shifts. Perspective is gained. Fun is had.
It’s like a pick six, and Adultitis loses big time. The only difference is that in football, you can’t call a play that will guarantee a pick six. It’s true: you actually have more power in real life.
Pajama Run is our go-to play, but you can draw up your own. It just has to be some kind of activity guaranteed to be fun that immediately and physically shifts you to a dramatically different place than your current environment. For maximum results, it should feel a little like a rule that doesn’t exist. (See: wearing pajamas in public and going out after bedtime, or having ice cream right before dinner, as we often do.)
When you’re in the middle of an Adultitis attack, it’s common to feel pretty helpless and it’s tempting to throw in the towel. Don’t give up! You are the head coach of your life. You have the power to shift momentum.
The war will rage on your whole life, but you can win today’s game.
Now, blow that metaphorical whistle around your neck, call a timeout, and draw up a play that sends Adultitis to the showers.
🤔 I wonder…do you have a go-to play you like to use that always seems to turn the tide against Adultitis?