Remember when you were a kid? Remember when you would take the sheet off one of the beds in your house, and you would drape it over the dining room table. You would make sure all the chairs were pulled in tight after you crawled under it. You would hide and you would play in the fantastic fort of blankets that you just created.
In those moments, nothing else in the world really mattered. Freedom existed in those moments and it felt glorious. I was thinking about that this morning; free. Truly letting go of everything of the world for a period of time to reconnect with yourself. Of course, children aren’t thinking about reconnection with themselves in those moments. Children play and they don’t try to think about why; they just do.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery wrote this about adults in his book, The Little Prince:
“All grown ups were once children…but only few of them remember it.”
This book mocks the oddities of the adult world and asks a wide reading audience to take another look at human relationships.
When we are young, it is easy for us to use our imagination. It is easy for us to take time to play and to “hide-away” from the world. We don’t really seem to mind or care what other people think, so we just take that blanket and we get under the fort we created.
As we become adults, we begin to care what other people think. We have trouble with our imagination. We have trouble allowing ourselves to “hide” when we need to get away; when we need to escape; when we need to recharge. It is important that we recognize when we need to connect with a world of imagination. It is important for us to “hide” every now and then. Maybe as adults the purpose of our imagination is to recharge. As Tony Robbins once put it, “We live in a box house and we go to our box jobs at our box desk and talk on the box phone then we get in the box car to go back to our box home and live a box life.”
There are times when we need to recharge, but we consistently spread ourselves too thin. We go to work all day, then we come home to take care of the kids. Then, the littlest annoyance can set us off. As adults, we insist on other ways to play. “Work hard, play hard;” which consists of vacations, drinking, active hobbies, or over-stimulating social events.
Instead of recharging in childlike ways, we “recharge” in adult ways. Our imagination becomes a thing of the past. We are unable to properly recharge because we have replaced blanket forts with wine and replaced play-time with habits. We decide we are going to go on a family vacation. Vacation is the new recharge. Then we have to pack the car, pack all the kids, drive or fly somewhere; the kids are restless in the vehicle. We get there and we have to unpack everything and the vacation becomes work. The recharge becomes draining.
So instead of taking the blanket and hiding under the dining room table or recreating an activity from childhood, we act out. We act out in frustrated when we are irritated with traffic. We use loud tones and take harsh words out on our families after a long day at work. I get it, it is not socially acceptable for an adult to take a blanket off the bed and drape it over the dining room table. But try it anyways.
I encourage you to find ways to recharge, whether that is with your family, your partner, or yourself. Take the blanket off of your bed and put in on the dining room table. Crawl under it after a long day of work, turn on a flashlight, lay there and just breath. No one is going to be able to see you. No one will know that you are doing that. Do whatever it was you did when you were little. Take the pillows off the couch and placed them on the floor. Jump from pillow to pillow, but not the floor. The floor is lava! Remember things that you did when you were a kid. Stop by the nearest park on the way home from work and swing on the swing set. Make yourself feel alive. No one else is going to do it for you. Imagination is part of what helps us recharge and get through the difficult things in life. Go for a walk in the morning before work. Talk to a stranger. Just get out of yourself and get out of your work mode for a few minutes each and every day. Live within your imagination.
The Cynical Therapist came to be when two therapists became friends. SoulMates or Kindered Spirit Animals… Call us what you will…. We are two bad*** chics Licensed to teach you how to grow into your full potential and add some humor along the way.
Laurie Wilson and Elle Anzalone are both Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist practicing in Huntington Beach, CA.