My dad has never understood the difference between being childish and immature, and simply enjoying fun things whether people “get it” or not. He often tells my brother to “grow up” simply because he can be hyper and goofy – despite the fact that he also has a steady decent-paying job and a lovely girlfriend. He tells my sister to “act her age” without seeming to realize that at the age of 15, she is in fact acting her age. And he simply cannot understand why, at the age of 30, I would still watch cartoons. (Ironically, my dad is excessively childish about the serious things, but he takes himself way too seriously about the little fun things.)
But I will never understand why there should be anything wrong with still loving the little things we loved as children. Cartoons. Silly pop songs. Coloring books. Dumb jokes. Park swings and slides. Etc etc etc. So let me say it here, for anyone who might care (though probably no one will): THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH ENJOYING THESE THINGS, and “growing up,” in that sense at least, is totally stupidly overrated.
If something is harmless, and it makes you happy, then by god you enjoy that thing and everyone else’s opinions be damned. There is so little joy in the world, sometimes, especially if, like me, you have issues with anxiety and depression. This is made even more difficult by things like the stress of living paycheck to paycheck, or family illness, etc. In those cases especially, if something is small, or cheap, or free, and it makes you happy, then own it, and apologize to no one.
For me, these things include:
Swinging on swing sets in children’s parks: I love swings, and always have. I wait for moments when the parks and playgrounds I live near are empty, or nearly empty – generally at dusk or early in the morning – because I don’t want to get in the way of actual children who deserve to enjoy their playgrounds without me taking up space. But I’m not embarrassed about it, and I don’t apologize for enjoying swings as much as a do.
Doing puzzles: Puzzles are a little like meditation for me, though they take me a long time to do because I can only spare a few minutes here and there between other things. I have down half a dozen puzzles in the last few years. Once, a puzzle took me two whole years to complete because a) I was really busy, and b) it was really difficult. My mother enjoys buying me puzzles, so I have a stack of about 10 waiting for me. I’m currently working on an Alice in Wonderland puzzle that is ridiculously difficult. This puzzle went above and beyond the call of duty in making irregularly-shaped pieces and the difficulty level is through the roof.
Playing video games: my brother is really gamer in the family, and I don’t play a ton of games. But I have a Nintendo DS and I enjoy taking some time now and again to play Mario Bros, or Kingdom Hearts. They’re fun and relaxing (in a weird way, as they do occasionally frustrate me at the same time). And I also love a game on Dance Dance Revolution on my brother’s old Playstation 2 over once in a while too.
Watching cartoons: Now, I’m not talking about anime here. Some people consider anime to be the same thing as children’s cartoons, but they are wrong. It’s a totally different, generally far more adult, category. And I watch TONS of anime, but that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about legit honest-to-god children’s cartoons such as: Phineas and Ferb, My Little Pony, Gravity Falls, Adventure Time, etc. I adore them. I was introduced to Phineas and Ferb by an old friends 4-year-old son, and I am totally okay with that. And my friend N– is to blame for my addiction to My Little Pony. (Also, Gravity Falls and Adventure Time are, despite their wackiness, completely brilliant and surprisingly grown-up at times.)
Coloring in coloring books: Now, I am happy about the recent popularity of “adult coloring books” and I have several very complex, detailed, difficult such coloring books, along with an enormous array of high quality colored pencils. But, though I am loathe to sound like a snooty hipster, I was coloring in coloring books LONG before it was suddenly trendy. All throughout high school and college, when everyone else had “grown up” and “grown out of” coloring, I was still happily buying coloring books and crayons, and I still have a vast collection of children’s coloring books like My Little Pony, Disney, Marvel Comics, and even Precious Moments coloring books.
So how about you? What traditionally “childish” things do you still love? What do you unapologetically enjoy? Please share! I’d love to here about it.