Many of the things discussed in this series, Things to Remember on Your Journey, are more serious in nature. Please, please, please, remember your sense of adventure, silliness, and all out fun! Being so serious all the time seems to be a new problematic phenomenon that has surfaced over the past few decades. Sadly, even the children have to deal with many serious “adult” things these days and therefore, often miss out on how childhood should be lived.
The Children & Young Adults
When this list came to my mind, I actually shuddered. It certainly doesn’t mean that every child deals with every, or even one of these issues/situations or concerns, but am confident the majority of children experience one of these at least. Thirty to fifty years ago, yes there was bullying, abuse, poverty of course. Perhaps it was hidden or hushed but now with 24 x 7 technology, we can’t escape some of the stress that childhood can bring.
- Abuse (physical, emotional, neglect, etc.)
- Bullying (in person or cyber)
- Academic stress
- Go to college stress (college may not be for them and the debt is absurd)
- Health diagnosis (mental and physical)
- Pressure to be constantly busy (sports, music, acting, studying non-stop, karate, etc.)
- Peer pressures (smoking, vaping, drugs, alcohol, sex)
- Teen drama
- Helicopter parents
- Sense of entitlement (learned by their environment)
- Degrading/humiliating music, video games, movies and TV
- Videotaping everything for the purpose of mocking, humiliating and bullying
- Teen dating violence
- Both parents working, single parents with multiple jobs
- Media/society dictating how they should look and what they should wear
I’m sure I could continue and you can add to this list. Where is the play time, the chill out time, the get out the head time? No wonder more and more children are experiencing anxiety, depression, stress, and even self-harm and suicidal thoughts. Society is already putting up roadblocks on their journey.
In addition to any of the above issues carrying over in to adulthood, let’s add the following:
- Student loan debt
- Finding the right job
- Not being able to find a job in field of study
- Cost of rent/mortgage
- Living with parents longer than previous generation
- Work stress
- Toxic environments at work or home
- Pressure to date, marry, have children (oh, those online apps)
- Car, phone, utility, food, insurance, etc.–increasing costs of living
- Costs of raising children
- Adult bullying
- A need to keep up with the “Jones”
- Anxiety, depression, social awkwardness and other mental health issues that may not be diagnosed or no treatment is sought
- Health care issues of getting older
- No funds to take a vacation; living paycheck to paycheck
- Lack of true friends
- Drugs, alcohol, food, gambling or any other addiction/form of self-medicating
Things to remember on your journey — where’s the fun?
- Insurance issues
- Long-term healthcare concerns
- Health issues
- Not enough retirement funds
- Fear of needing to work until 70
- Family and friends dying; who will be there for you?
- Living arrangements
- Estranged children/family members
- Society not caring about older people
- Loss of independence
- Loss of spouse or partner
- Not being able to afford medications/food
Damn. You read this list and might think, “What’s the point”? and “When is there any time or money for fun”? At the end of the day, we’re all more a like than different. We all suffer from one or 20 of the things listed above. Even for those who have the money, there is no guarantee of joy in their life. We all need to Live Like We’re Dying!
When to Say “Screw It”!
Part of the reason we worry so much, overthink and are seemingly in a never-ending funk is because we are choosing to focus on the misery rather than on the blessings or fun. Having fun in life does not have to cost a fortune. Fun can be:
- Reading, writing, recording
- Playing an instrument
- Singing car or dinner table karaoke
- Taking a long walk or hike; exploring a new place in your hometown
- Days at the park, museum, zoo, or other attractions nearby
- Not worrying about the laundry but building a blanket fort instead or having a picnic lunch in the playroom
- Crafting using materials found around the house
- Pounding some clay
- Rock climbing, skating, taking a canoe on the river or lake
- Drinking coffee or wine with friends
- Playing board games
- Taking a vacation (to the next town or around the world)
- Get a hobby: photography, baking, cooking, etc.
- Date nights
- Romantic gestures
The opportunities are endless. The bottom line is, there are no excuses to not have fun; our sanity, character, growth and health demand it! We must make the time, just as we do for our doctor appointments, work or school meetings, and the other routine tasks we do daily. Let’s find what brings us joy and do those things often!
Things to Remember on Your Journey #3
Things to remember on your journey–make time for fun! Get out that calendar and start scheduling something at least once a week. Work up to making fun a daily priority–even 15 minutes a day will go a long way in improving our mental and physical being. Add some twists and turns to your life journey; laughter is indeed the best medicine and is good for the soul.
I would love to hear some of the things you decided to schedule for the holiday season and then what are you choices to fight off those winter blues! Your ideas may inspire others!