• Jacob Maxwell

Kick the Dullness of Adult Life with Childish Positivity

Let me read this post to you:

I awoke that Sunday morning abruptly with a psychological uneasiness that quickly manifested in the pit of my stomach. I picked up my phone from the cluttered surface of my wooden nightstand. A rude blast of electronic light abruptly presented the time: 11:14. The uneasiness intensified.

Over the past week, I had slogged through online classes and labs, worked on a tortuous group project, and frantically created summary notes until my wrist was numb. Saturday had started at 5:20 AM, when I arose in the dark, dressed myself in several layers, and proceeded to drive seventy-five kilometres to my weekend job.

Do you remember how you approached life as a child? I think for many of us, when we entered the physical and mental transition into adulthood, our perspective changed. Social pressures became paramount. The future need for a career loomed larger. Our time was increasingly spent on sensible and necessary tasks. Each day turned into a sober list of to-dos instead of an exciting series of activities.

On a different Sunday morning, eleven year-old me awoke with a sense of excitement that almost felt physically warm. Several months earlier, I had voluntarily taken over the duty of tending my family’s backyard flock of chickens. This wasn’t a chore for me, but instead my favourite diversion. My two hens, having just finished raising a large brood of chicks, had recently started to lay eggs again. That morning, I felt content knowing that the nest box I had carefully placed in a corner and lined with wood shavings was finally being used by my animals as a spot for their precious eggs.

Stop to remember how you occupied yourself as a kid. Remember what it felt like to be interested in an animal, a movie, a machine, or that science kit you got for Christmas. How did you approach your interests in a time when you weren’t pressured to do anything with them?

I’m fortunate enough to study animal biology - something that I like. Even so, the pressures of adulthood tend to extract the fun out of what was once just a childhood interest. Perhaps what you’re doing now was an interest in your youth, or perhaps it’s completely new. Whatever your direction, step back and remember your attitude as a child. The pressures of adulthood won’t disappear, but I think many of us could benefit from a little more curiosity, naive positivity, and blind confidence.

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