As my sister is about to turn 14, she seems to be passing on advice to me she doesn't even realize. She is a reminder that, in order to be a better adult, we need to be more like children.
These are the five things we need most:
1. We need to be reckless.
My little sister is bold -- daring, even.
She throws herself into situations with uncontrolled abandon, with this childlike assumption it will all work out in the end.
Even though I actively embrace pragmatism, there is something valuable about not thinking and just “doing" -- especially if it is going to make us smile as wide as she smiles.
So go on; drink a little too much, dance madly, get into some foolishness and do it with zeal.
Let the world skin your knees a bit. It makes for the best memories.
2. We need to know it's okay to be in a mood.
We have this belief that as we enter the real world, we have to be strong, put-together and less emotional. We think the only way to embrace adulthood is to deal with every situation with this sense of fortitude.
But f*ck that.
Be in a mood. Sometimes, life sucks. People are mean, feelings get hurt and you feel awful. Get mad, cry and just mope.
Embracing how you feel wholeheartedly and passionately isn’t just for angsty teens.
A good sulk can make the world right again, just like it did when you were 14. So be alone, listen to that Good Charlotte CD I’m sure is tucked away somewhere; pour yourself a big glass of wine and sit on how you feel.
Just be in a mood when the mood strikes. It’ll make tomorrow a little less gray.
3. We need to let the smallest things make us the happiest.
Remember when happiness was defined as perfecting your dive into the pool during the summer, or making it into the Geography Bee?
Instead of waiting for big moments to define our happiness, we need to embrace the little ones.
Start getting excited about finding a parking spot close to work or hearing your favorite song when you first wake up. Not every day is going to have a grand gesture or soul-awakening moment.
Find happiness in those small acts so you can find happiness in every day.
4. We need to celebrate the milestones.
As we get older, milestones become promotions, weddings and kids. While these are all ones to embrace, we need more reasons to celebrate ourselves.
When we were 14, milestones were aplenty: winning a contest at school, being able to go to your first movie without your mom there, or going on your first dance.
We need to start embracing adulthood’s version of that dance. Let’s pop champagne and celebrate our tiny milestones again, like making it through the work week, getting a warning instead of ticket, or just the fact that the champagne you’re drinking was on sale!
Life is worth celebrating, so make up reasons to celebrate it more often.
5. We need to be actively excited about our futures.
In the age of rent, student loans, bills and desk jobs, it's easy to forget our old goals -- those exciting dreams that inspired our childhood.
When we were younger, we wanted to be doctors, pilots and popstars. We were excited about our futures, starry-eyed about adulthood. Even though we might have realized we can’t actually sing, or medical school just isn’t for us, we can still be excited about our futures.
The best is always yet to come, as cliché as that may sound, so let’s start dreaming again.
We don’t ever have to settle, despite what adulthood demands of us.
Get enthusiastic about yourself and make goals again. Plan that trip you've always wanted to take; go back to school, or finally move to the city that's been calling your name.
Regain that sense of wonder and create goals to strive for. They are what makes the future worth chasing.