You don’t stop having fun because you get old, you get old because you stop having fun.
Don’t Grow Up Too Soon
Being a kid was so awesome. Do you remember waking up to the endless possibilities? Your dreams were limitless and you just had fun. Do you recall when activities like “gym” and “recess” were a part of your daily schedule? You weren’t under a lot of pressure and you appreciated how the little things made you feel. You were motivated to be creative, acted off impulse, and you weren’t too concerned with the ‘status quo’. Innocence used to be rewarded and now it is secretly desired.
Being a Kid Rocks
Growing up, money wasn’t the only thing that got you excited about life. You would get candy, stickers, and a smiley face for doing something good, and it made you feel so great. If you got sick, mom or grandma made you chicken noodle soup and gave you crackers. You loved it because you didn’t have to go to school which made you felt like a king or queen for the day. The world was a simple and you had few responsibilities.
You had chores like cleaning up your room and taking out the trash, but even though you had all this going on, it wasn’t overly complicated. Once you were done, you could go outside and play. Money wasn’t that important because you didn’t have to pay for anything. You only experienced love & heartbreak on TV, movies, or in the story books. Oh the memories! Being an adult can be crappy sometimes due to the expectations that are placed on us and eventually the ones we put on ourselves. It’s a lot that comes with being a productive and responsible person in the world.
High School & College
You were taught the perfect plan for happiness. Get good grades in high school and get accepted into college. You attend a university and maybe you would have a little fun. But you couldn’t do too much because your parents were paying for everything. Plus you had to graduate and find a high paying job so you can buy a house, car, get married, have kids, and retire rich.
The perfect plan consisted of a bunch of responsibilities and secretly consisted of you getting old before it was time to get old. It’s great to have these expectations because goal setting is what makes the world go around. But we can’t forget how great it was to be a child. What if that carefree mentality could be carried on in adulthood?
Once the financial commitments start, you lock yourself into having to work to pay debt. You believe these things you buy will make you happy and feel like that kid again. So you purchase the house, car, jewelry and clothes. You buy these ‘toys’ to fill the void. But the more you buy, the more you realize how unhappy you still are.
And it is not so much the ‘toys’ making you unhappy, it’s the fact that you have to work so hard to pay off the debt. More toys equal more responsibilities unless you understand that happiness starts within you. You never figure out that life is supposed to be enjoyed, so you strive to obtain that feeling through the material things. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with having big goals and spending money. Just don’t sacrifice your happiness during the process.
Say your plan works out to perfection. You are 40 and you have your dream home, you are married with kids, nice cars, and you are making a ton of money. You are reaching all your goals that you and your parents set. But are you happy and more importantly are you having fun? You work so hard to keep up this lifestyle. But you have no time to really enjoy and appreciate all the sacrifices you are making to get to this point. You become so focused on the achievements that you missed the part about enjoying the moment.
“Worrying doesn’t take away tomorrow’s troubles, it takes away today’s peace.” –Unknown
You should know from example after example that a perfect plan can go up in smoke in an instant. You’ve seen the tragedies of 911, Hurricane Katrina, and many many more unfortunate events. The perfect plan you envisioned is real, but at any second it all can be taken away from you. So why not have fun in the process? For every 8-hours that you work, why not deposit a few hours or so in the fun account? The fun account can include vacations, hanging out with friends, dates with the significant other, or fun getaways with the kids and/or adult children.
Make Fun a Priority
Don’t just focus on saving for big splashes like vacations or expensive dinners, give yourself the chance to enjoy life on a daily basis. Hit the gym, read a book, grab a drink, do a staycation. The activities you can do to have fun are endless. There is so much that can be done daily to break the routine of ‘real life.’ Make it a daily habit to do the things you love despite the commitments to work and family. Don’t get caught in the trap of working so long and hard to be successful that you are not loving it.
Enjoy life! Have fun! Don’t stop being a kid. If you’re lucky, you will get old one day. And when that happens you will admit that you wished you had more fun during the process. Live with no regrets! And remember that life is not over once you get that job, have those kids, and create all those financial commitments. Take a stand for happiness and have fun. Tomorrow is not promised so plan for it, but enjoy today. Be responsible but strive to be that kid again.