I can't speak for Justin, but my Friday, I wasn't feeling any less stressed. I was thinking about homework and speeches and all the materials I needed to read. I was suffering a serious case of adult-itis. Rather than focusing on the work I would be facing in the coming school week, I should have been thinking about the weekend activities Justin and I had planned.
One of the things I love about Justin is that he is kind of a dork. By that I mean he enjoys activities that are goofy, silly, and a bit cliched. In other words, he likes to do things that allow us to stop taking life so seriously and just enjoy the moment. Naturally, visiting a pumpkin patch sounded like an excellently goofy way to forget my troubles (come on get happyyyyyy) and enjoy a beautiful, autumnal day with my boyfriend.
This Saturday was by far one of the best days I have had in a long time. Why? Because I got in touch with my inner child. Sort of. You see, Actual Little Kaitlin would not have enjoyed a trip to Goebbert's. She was a thoroughly nervous creature. Her parents took her to Goebbert's once; she wanted nothing to with the corn mazes. Based on a home video of ALK in the parking lot of the Brookfield Zoo (chanting "We has to go home, mommy!"), I can only imagine the terror she would have been seized with when encountering the three animal tents. Actual Little Kaitlin would have spent too much time worrying about every little detail to enjoy herself, too afraid to engage in the activities around her.
I feel like my experience at the farm made up for my anxiety-ridden childhood. There were moments I felt pure joy and simple pleasure in little things. I can only imagine this is what I imagine the children around me must have felt. I ran around the farm, announcing to Justin all the things I wanted to do. Everything around me was exciting and new. I was not overcome by my typical crowd-anxiety. (There were other people there? YOU'RE KIDDING ME.) I felt like I was getting a second chance at my childhood and it was wonderful.
Reflecting on the day, I have identified three behaviors that allowed me to embrace my true inner child and live without worry.
1. Remembering that happiness and fun are my right just as much as anyone else's. Shying away from life and hugging the walls are not an option.
|I tried to come up with some connection between Point #1 and this photo of pigs, but I give up|
I also applied this "go for it" attitude in the petting zoo area.
|And I said, "Hey, Llama, how about a little somethin', ya know, fer de effort?"|
2. Don't think. Just do.
|When a flat wooden cutout of Winnie The Pooh makes a move, you just go with it.|
|See, it totally works out!|
This is the most important thing that I took from my day at the farm. I get so caught up in worrying about how I am perceived. I want to be liked, respected, viewed as someone with intelligence and class. Living up to these adult expectations becomes exhausting. But on Saturday afternoon, I didn't care. I didn't care if a parent looked at me funny for getting right up to the fences. I didn't care who heard me literally squeal at the baby pigs. I didn't care if anyone judged me for waiting in a line to participate in a child's activity. I just didn't care about anything other than being present in my surroundings. It was so freeing to live in the moment and not once retreat into my own head. Thinking with the simplicity of a child brought out the life in me. I mean, look at these happy faces:
That is pure laughter. Laughter that would not have happened if we thought like adults. By embracing our inner child, we shed the worries of our normal lives and were able to laugh like children. In the future, I'm definitely going to embrace opportunities to apply these types of thinking and discover the child I never got to be.
Sidenote: DID I MENTION THERE WERE PIGS AT THIS FARM? LOOK AT THE HAPPY PIGGIES!