Act like a kid again: we become so set in our ways that we never take stock of our life, examine where we’ve been, re-evaluate where we are going

Act like a kid again: we become so set in our ways that we never take stock of our life, examine where we’ve been, re-evaluate where we are going

Kevin Chappell

HAVE you noticed how excited kids get during this time of the year? For many, nothing–outside of Christmas–is better than the start of another school year. With the fall of the leaves, a new chapter is beginning in their lives. This time of year, most kids have a bounce in their step (and new clothes on their backs) as they prepare to see old friends, make new ones, and learn new things, about themselves and the world.

For many, this time of the year presents a second chance, another opportunity to right the wrongs of the previous year, venture into un-chartered territory, conquer social and academic challenges that they never thought they could. Maybe, it’s getting on track academically, getting in with the right clique, or getting the attention of that girl or boy they have been thinking about all summer.

How refreshing adolescence is. No other time in life is life broken down into yearly segments, every twelfth month bringing with it a chance to start over, to redefine who you are and what you want to accomplish.

As you get older, such chances for renewal dwindle. Seasons merge into one another. Then years do the same. With nothing majorly different to signify the start of a new season, a new milestone, a new accomplishment, many of us settle into our mundane lives, never getting excited about much of anything. We forget what it was like being young, full of hope and optimism. We forget what it was like to set lofty goals, and have to have such faith in ourselves that we have every intention of achieving those goals.

Between work responsibilities and family obligations, between the ghosts of past failures and the phantoms of future missteps, we become scared straight, paralyzed into living uneventful lives, so afraid of stepping out of the norm that we settle for the routine.

For many of us, the last time for any real introspection was when we graduated from high school or college, or got married. For some of us, that was 20 years ago, so long ago that not only has everything and everyone around us changed, but so have we. Undoubtedly, some things that were important back then don’t hold the same importance now. And some things that we couldn’t care less about in our youth are highly valued now.

Taking stock of your life means getting to know yourself again. Find out what you really want out of life. Find out what gets you excited. And when you figure it out, go after it, with childlike abandon, realizing that it is possible to get back that youthful exuberance while at the same time being a responsible adult.

Maybe it starts by celebrating more. Heck, celebrate making if through another week at work. Celebrate when your favorite team wins. Celebrate when you lose 5 pounds. Celebrate when your favorite sports team loses by lesser points than you thought it would.

Many times, no one even has to know that you are celebrating. An old man once told me that he had a joy inside that no one could take away from him. To him, every day was like his own personal celebration. Every day he found something to feel good about, something to live for, to strive for. And he did it many times when it seemed like nothing was going his way.

Stop being afraid to step out from the norm. Stop being content to watch others get the most out of their lives. Sure things might not always work out the way that you had hoped. But if you live your life with the excitement you did as a kid, you can never look back at your life with unfilled wishes and unreel goals.

COPYRIGHT 2004 Johnson Publishing Co.

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group