There are some things that we will never be too old for.
In the midst of growing up, moving on, and trying to navigate life as best we can, some things are constants, the rocks that remind us of who we are and of the childlike happiness that is so fulfilling and complete.
So the next time you’re ever overcome with stress or uncertainty or a case of the Monday blues, just remember a few of the things we should never grow out of:
The doubled-over, can’t-breathe laughter is the kind that erases absolutely all doubt, fear, sadness, anger and any other emotion that even dares to flirt with negativity. Those precious moments are pure joy.
There’s nothing more cathartic than crying, except for maybe the unrestrained, side-clutching, ugly crying that we learn over time to suppress. But there’s nothing wrong with letting it all out—the natural high afterwards is unmatched, and the release helps us deal with emotions rather than bottling them up.
On our fierce paths to become strong, independent, self-sustaining young women, it can be easy to forget that strength doesn’t mean solitary. We’re never too old to ask for help; in fact, as our older and wiser selves, we should realize that seeking guidance and aid when we need it is one of the smartest, bravest things we can do.
Before middle school dances, before partying and proms, before clubbing and weddings, there was a time when dancing was a very individual activity. We danced around our rooms for no other reason or agenda than that we were happy. And you don’t need a partner, a DJ or dim lighting to be happy.
As young professionals, we’re so often told that if we want to take risks, now is the time to do it. The intention behind this makes sense to a certain extent—as we grow older, we tend to make more commitments and take on more responsibility that affects other people. That being said, there’s also a lingering wistfulness to advice like this, an implication that big dreams have a shelf life. That’s just not true. Robin Chase founded Zipcar when she was 53, and she’s still dreaming big to this day.
Forget proper form for just one second, and remember how it felt to sprint as fast as you possibly could, whether it was to escape your peers during tag or to be the first one to claim the good swing. Everything from the adrenaline pumping to the wind in our hair to the stitch in our side at the finish line reminds us of how alive we are.
Define magic however you want—whether it’s love, the flying spaghetti monster or another higher power, soulmates, ghosts, Santa or Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The point is that it’s okay to believe in something bigger than the facts and logic our college educations have given us, to open our minds back up to wonder.
Nothing we ever wanted as children was practical in any way, shape or form. School stores were filled with crazy colored pencil grips and whimsically shaped erasers that did little more than smudge. Our Christmas lists called for the nth Beanie Baby in our collections and Easy Bake Ovens that made brownies we’d trade for the real kind Dad made any day. Those things made us happy though. As we grow older, it’s easy to fall into the trap of spending our extra cash on things that bring us status instead of joy. Forget the designer sunglasses you’ll constantly be paranoid about losing, and opt for the fresh flowers you never let yourself buy at Sunday’s farmer’s market.