Do you ever wish you could go back to the good old days of kindergarten where the only things that mattered were who's mom packed the best snacks and which friend's house you were going to after school? Yeah, me too. Unfortunately, this article isn't about how to make a time machine so you can relive your childhood days, but luckily there are other ways to keep that childhood spirit alive in your life today. Here's a list of lessons from your 5-year-old self that are timeless:
1. People may be bigger than you, but that doesn't mean you don't have a voice.
Even though 5-year-olds are very tiny people, they are very mighty. Have you ever been in a room with a 5-year-old who wasn't the center of attention? They're constantly asking questions: "What's that? What are you doing? What are you talking about? Can I join?" It can get pretty annoying when you're just trying to watch a show or get some work done and you've got a badgering kindergartner breathing down your neck, but persistence is a great quality to have. There are always going to be people in your life who are bigger than you, stronger than you, or smarter than you, but if you use your voice and keep pushing, you can make yourself heard among all the big people. And the best part is that since you're now a certifiable adult, people will actually listen to you.
2. Everyone is your best friend.
Remember those days on the playground when you'd meet another random 5-year-old, and for that one hour of play time, the two of you were best friends? Adults aren't so keen on making friends so quickly. We tend to keep our distance and remain within the safety of our own lives. I mean, what if the stranger sitting next to me on the bus is actually a serial killer? Or worse, what if they don't like Game of Thrones? I hate to burst your bubble, but most people are actually a lot nicer than they appear. They were once an overly friendly 5-year-old, too. Sometimes it's OK to let your guard down a little and be a friend to someone. Even if that just means holding the door open for the person behind you or giving up your seat on the bus, small acts of kindness can mean a great deal to people. And who knows? You might just make a new friend.
3. It's the little things that count.
When you're 5, the best things in the world come in small packages. The ice cream truck's in town? This is the best day ever! I found a penny on my way to school? I'm rich! My mom bought me a candy at the grocery store? Life is amazing! We tend to get caught up in the "big picture" stuff as adults, and that can be exhausting, so take some notes from your 5-year-old self and appreciate all the little things that make life fun and enjoyable. My favorite song came on the radio on my way to work? What a great way to start the day! They had chocolate cake in the dining hall? Don't mind if I do! It's Wednesday? I'm making some popcorn because American Horror Story is on! There's something good in every day, you've just got to find it.
4. Being excited is awesome.
5-year-olds get excited about everything. Lining up for lunch was always a race to see who could be line leader. Show and tell was a public event that let you show the whole class that, yes, you have the complete deck of Webkinz trading cards and that's something to be proud of. Going to the grocery store with your mom meant that you'd get to drive by the farm and see the horses which were just so pretty. When you're 5, everything is exciting because it's all so new. The world is your playground to explore. But for whatever reason, after the age of 5, we spend most of our childhood being told to sit down, be quiet, and behave. This is a huge mistake. We shouldn't quiet our inner 5-year-old, because if there's one thing we know about 5-year-olds, it's that they don't shut up. Don't be ashamed of that excited little voice inside you. Let it out and let it shine because it's good to be excited.
5. Imagination is a powerful tool.
When I was a kid, our family had a fake Christmas tree. The tree came in this ginormous box that could fit me, my brother, and my sister with room to spare. Looking at it today, I would just tell you that that box was just that -- a box. But to little 5-year-old me, that box was a fully-automated spaceship complete with laser beams, leather seats, and cup holders. My siblings and I took sharpies and drew control panels and rocket launchers on the box and spent hours flying through space making machines noises as we pushed our cardboard spaceship around our living room. You won't find me playing pretend with any boxes today, but the ability to see things differently from how they appear is truly a powerful skill. Rationality is considered a key part in growing up, but imagination isn't negative. Use your creative and slightly naive inner 5-year-old to reimagine what's possible.
Growing up is just a part of life, and there are all sorts of benefits to maturing and reaching adulthood, but don't let the weight of adulthood keep you from enjoying life. Remember that inner 5-year-old that's still there deep down inside you. They may be just a kid, but they've shaped you into who you are today, and that's a pretty big accomplishment.