So many of us, as adults, tell our kids that they’d better stop wishing they could be big, because being adult is no fun.
Whose fault is that?
Our priorities are different, sure. As we grow, making sure people perceive of us as mature members of society slowly but surely edges out things like playing with toy cars, having tea parties, or playing in the mud. Sure, things get replaced with bigger, better ways to ‘play’ as our ability to use and care for them are refined; like toy cars being replaced by RC cars, then eventually real cars, tea parties go from having no liquid to real liquid to hosting actually parties. But few adults (generally) have a substitute for playing in the mud.
There is no one reason kids like playing in the mud. It’s squishy, sticky, goopy, and makes their mommies cringe. You can paint with it, coat yourself in it, and fling it. It turns your white shirt brown and looks like poop without smelling like it.
For the same reasons, adults DON’T like playing in the mud.
And it’s a shame.
It’s a shame that we stop seeing the potential for a splash party in a mud puddle and instead see wet socks and dirty clothes. It’s a shame that we no longer see mud pies, but rather dirty hands and an evening of getting dirt out from under nails. That leaving our prints in the mud is simultaneously asking for muddy footprints through the house. A mud fight that just means another bath. Not wanting the neighbors to think we’re a bunch of filthy animals.
Yes, getting dirty means a little, or a lot, of extra work to clean up. But guess what you’ll remember more than the extra load of laundry?
You’ll remember being a child. You’ll remember what it’s like to enjoy something with no strings attached. And further down the road you’ll be able to look back on the times you did stop to enjoy a mudbath, whether with your kids or without.
I know, I know… Priorities. And sensibility. And pride.
When you choose to worry about the time or your image instead of making the decision to cherish the moments, that’s when we start losing the wonder of being a child. Time invested in being happy will be worth the returns. You won’t fondly look back on a day that you scolded your kids and demanded that you all stay pristine and clean, but you WILL remember jumping in the mud puddle and getting absolutely soaked, ensuring that everyone would have to ride home in their underwear (you know, for example).
I’m inviting you to join me and stop having a sucky adulthood. Do what you love, without remorse. Take that opportunity to be a little less mature than expected. Yes, do what you have to to maintain your job, your health, your cleanliness, but sometimes…
Sometimes, you have to stop being a stick in the mud, and jump in the mud instead.