4 Childhood Qualities You Lost And Need To Recover As A 20-Something

by Kerry O'Connor

I spent a lot of time with my next door neighbor this summer, a 9-year-old with spunk, attitude and scraped-up knees to match. She’d relentlessly beg me to ride bikes with her around the neighborhood, but I couldn’t even remember the last time I’d been on a bike.

Time after time, I’d turn her down.

Instead, I’d try (and fail) to do her hair or paint her nails. Once, I got her to sit still long enough to paint her nails a coat of purple polish, only to have her take off and smudge them within 30 seconds of leaving my backyard.

I realized I was unconsciously asking this little girl to grow up by asking her to sit and talk with me when she wanted to go for bike rides or visit the playground down the street. Envious of her carefree ways, I pulled an old bike out of my garage and put some air in the tires.

Growing up, we slowly start to lose the beautiful qualities we had as kids, whether we consciously choose to or not. It’s a sad day when a little kid outgrows his "Lion King" lunchbox or packs up her Polly Pockets for storage.

We become too cool for these “kid things” and want to act like the adults in our lives. We outgrow our figure skates and our ability to be completely (and sometimes bluntly) honest.

It’s easy to forget how simple life was when you were a kid. These admirable qualities dwindled away with the harsh reality of growing up, but it’s not too late. We all just need a little reminder of things we lost, so we can work on getting them back.

Plain-Spoken Honesty

What ever happened to not holding back? Kids will say anything they want because they haven’t developed a sensor yet. Except for maybe hiding the cookie crumbs before dinner, kids have the most beautiful honesty and aren’t afraid to say how they feel.

Don’t be fake to yourself or to others. Your 9-year-old self knows when you’re lying; just don’t tell your boss he’s a condescending flake.

Infinite Energy

Soccer practice, softball games, recess, ballet class, gym class, riding bikes, tag, hide and seek... remember when we could do all of these things in one day? Kids have more energy than they know what to do with. They do what they love and never want to stop moving. So, instead of dreading your workout, do something you actually like.

Go for a hike, try hot yoga or just go for a walk with a friend. The options are endless, and we’re allowed to stay out past the streetlights now.

Admiring The Little Things

One of the greatest things about being a kid is how easily you are amused. The littlest thing can brighten a kid’s day and keep him or her happy and entertained for hours. Kids don’t need to spend money, get drunk, or leave the country to have a good time; they're perfectly content with ant hills, Barbie dolls, board games and playing dress up.

As we grow up, we start to overlook life’s little treasures. There is beauty in an unexpected conversation or a homemade Valentine’s Day card from your grandparents; if only we could slow down long enough to enjoy it.

Unconditional Love

Have you ever seen a little kid literally cling to his or her mom or dad’s leg? The love we have for our parents when we are young is the most genuine and powerful love to ever exist. Some of us used to be that little kid who screamed and cried the entire first day of kindergarten when mom dropped us at the door.

Whether it was for our parents, grandparents, teachers, aunts, uncles or first pet fish, we weren’t afraid to show how much we loved someone or something. Life may seem long sometimes, and it can be easy to take things for granted, but these people won’t be in our lives forever.

So, take a lesson from your 9-year-old self and tell the people in your life how much you love them; do what you love, be honest and admire the little things.

Dust off that old bike and take it for a spin.

Photo Courtesy: Tumblr