At what age did you become an adult?
“The first half of life is learning to be an adult—the second half is learning to be a child.” –Pablo Picasso
During my first 25 years, all I wanted was to be an adult with a great job, financial security. I first felt like an adult when I got a job at Farm & Fleet. I worked hard to succeed at my job and loved working there. I learned what it was like to be an adult. I learned to save money, pay bills, and juggle school, work, and extracurricular responsibilities. Going straight to work from cross-country practice after school, I sure got quite a few double takes changing into my work attire the car at the stoplight. I was, and still am, independent, responsible, and ambitious — the perfect recipe to reach my lofty adult goals.
As I age past 25, I feel like “I don’t wanna grow up!” I certainly do not think of myself as old, but I am determined to hold onto some of the characteristics of my younger years. I want to feel young, carefree, uninhibited, and eager for the future. Hanging out with an eight year old every other week I have the opportunity to be more silly, more relaxed, less worried, and less stressed. Together, the little boy I mentor through Big Brothers Big Sisters and I, have experienced so many exciting opportunities. We stayed up all night at a lock-in, chased each other ice skating, attended sporting events, jumped in giant blow-up castles, and do whatever we have decided sounds like fun. He once taught me how to Cat Daddy while we were out in public. Most of the instruction involved him blurting out instructions between his giggles at my failed attempts to Cat Daddy. He is a much better dancer than I am! Last weekend at the Hands-On Museum, we built a Styrofoam block fort so tall that we had stand on our tippy toes to reach the top! (I’m only 5’3”, so he’s almost as tall as me.) Many of the other adults sat on the sidelines, answering emails and texting. I may be an adult, but I don’t always want to feel like one. Why not take more time to be a little silly, laugh, and stretch our imaginations?
Amid our busy adult lives, we need carve out time each day for laughter and creativity. After all, it has been scientifically proven that laughter and creativity are good for us! Laughter can be beneficial in relieving stress, relaxing muscles, as well as decreasing heart rate and blood pressure. The evidence linking laughter to improved health outcomes is still missing. [Strean WB. “Laughter Prescription.” Canadian Family Physician. 2009;55(10):965-967] As a pharmacist concerned with the side effects and drug interactions, laughter has few, if any, detrimental side effects and no drug interactions! I am trying to laugh out loud at least once everyday because the benefits of laughing seem to outweigh the risks.
Similarly, creativity also has many benefits. An article published by The National Association of Social Workers, outlines the benefits of creativity in healthy aging, particularly in adults older than 60. [http://www.socialworkers.org/assets/secured/documents/practice/aging/creativityAndAging.pdf] Participants in the Creativity and Aging Study reported beneficial effects of creativity including decreased loneliness, increased morale, and decreased medication use. Participants who participated in creative activities such as dance, drama, music, and literary and visual arts saw these benefits more than participants who did not participate in creative activities. Research also exists exploring the value of “everyday creativity” as described in detail in The Cambridge Handbook of Creativity. [Richards R. Everyday Creativity: Process and Way of Life – Four Key Issues. In: Kaufman JC, Sternberg RJ, eds. The Cambridge Handbook of Creativity. 1st ed. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press; 2010:189-215.] In my mind, the potential benefits of adding a little creativity to everyday life outweigh the risks. It doesn’t have to be a large scrapbook project or involve money. Simply take the time to sing to your favorite song or learn a new dance step.
Laughter is a tranquilizer with no side effects. – Arnold H. Glasgow
Creativity is a drug I cannot live without. – Cecil B. DeMille
What will you do to add additional laughter and creativity to your everyday life?
Bridget Scoville is a pharmacist with a scholarly interest in the kidneys. She is completing a post-graduate research fellowship at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. When she’s not working on research, Bridget can be found running, swapping stories over coffee, laughing with friends during dinner, or youth mentoring through Big Brothers Big Sisters.