How Is Your Inner Child Doing?

Not being productive may lead the way to a more joyful life.

Verena Wilmes
Age of Empathy


Photo by Braydon Anderson on Unsplash

Where do children get their energy from? How can they get up early in the morning and express their joy and excitement about the day until the sun goes down?

How can they even look forward to each new day like that? And when was the last time, we as adults, were so excited in the morning after getting up? When was the last time we could hardly wait to leave the house?

Sure, rush hour traffic and work aren’t always reasons to squeal with joy, depending on schedules and tasks. And of course, we don’t have to greet every day with enthusiasm.

Sometimes everything is just complicated and annoying and that’s fine. And yet, I wonder if we, the all-knowing grown-ups, focus on the right things.

I know — earning money is important. We need money to live, pay bills, and feed our families. Surely work doesn’t have to be fun and fulfilling every day, and certainly stressful periods are part of it. But when exactly did we start defining ourselves by our jobs?

When did we allow the question: What do you do? to become the question: Who are you? And wouldn’t we be better off, if there were more things in our daily life, that would make us scream and shout like kids?

Well, we aren’t kids anymore. We’re supposed to build a career, or at least have a job, do errands and find ourselves someone to marry. We can’t help but look left and right to see who meets the social norm earlier and supposedly better.

We believe that streaming and ordering in is enough to fill our leisure time. Who has the energy to do anything else, anyway?

And we believe that this is how it has to be.

We accept that our daily work routine leaves us no time to eat well and healthily. That we exercise far too little, and expose ourselves to more stress, whether through social media or supposed social demands.

We are becoming more addicted to an alien way of life and are watching mental illnesses increase. Inner restlessness, anxiety disorders, sleep disorders, depression and burnout.

We recognize the connections and yet we don’t change anything. We tell ourselves that this is normal, that this is what adult life is like.

As children, we can afford to spend hours playing, lying in the backyard watching birds or exploring a creek. But as adults, we don’t have time for unproductive activities. It is not our job to look forward to the day in the morning, we are not expected to have fun.

We silence our inner child, we neglect those little, silly things our hearts crave to do.

Drawing or coloring as an adult? Why? You’d better paint the Mona Lisa. If we have so much time left, we should take out the trash, clean the house or finally change the sheets.

And in doing so far too often, we forget that one day we will all leave this earth.

It’s not productive to watch the stars or feed the birds. There’s always something supposedly more productive, more important to do. But we should not be fooled.

We have the right to experience joy in our lives. And whoever deals with mental health problems due to too much stress, knows exactly how important it is to really unwind.

In the end, what are we building a life for, if our life isn’t enjoyable for our inner child?

So let’s imagine that today would be our last day on earth. What would we miss? What would we absolutely want to do or want to experience again?

Eat burgers? Pet the dog? Go for a swim? Squint in the sun? Play soccer with the kids? Whatever we see in our mind’s eye is exactly what we should do more often.

Listen to the small voice of your inner child. Let it show you all the wonders of the world, the wonders of daily life. There’s plenty of them, you just need to look with the eyes of a child.