Every person goes through a phase of their life when they become self-conscious about themselves. For most of us, this dreaded phase occurs during middle school or even throughout high school. It becomes “childish” to like certain things; suddenly, apathy becomes the new cool. And, due to the fear of being judged by others, we sometimes hide or even give up the things that we used to enjoy. We become obsessed with being “mature” and acting like adults.
But the good thing about growing up and maturing is realizing that everyone’s definition of adulthood is different. My personal definition of maturity is the ability to recognize that there is not only one formula for being an adult. True maturity does not come from whether or not you still watch kids’ cartoons. It comes from something much deeper inside of you, and always being worried about whether or not you (or someone else) are acting your age can be a reflection of your own insecurities.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve become much more open about what some may call my “childish” past times. And you know what? I’m not the only one that enjoys these things. More people than you know probably like the same things that you do, but are afraid to admit to them for fear of being judged as immature.
Here are nine things from childhood that are still totally cool and fun to engage in as an adult.
I’ve mentioned this one above, but cartoons can be one of the most relaxing things to watch. Cartoons from Tom and Jerry to Adventure Time to Gravity Falls to Jimmy Neutron can be a cure to a bad day and remind you of simpler times. Plus, if you love artwork and animation, it can be a real treat to watch shows with beautiful character designs and backgrounds. Many cartoons are designed for parents to also watch with their kids, so there’s no shame in enjoying “children’s” cartoons.
This one has become slightly more popular since the rise of adult coloring books, but I cannot urge you enough to try it. Coloring is still just as fun and mind-absorbing for adults as it was when you were a child. The good thing is you don’t need a lot to get you going, either. Some colored pencils or crayons and a coloring book are all you need. You don’t need one of the fancy, intricate adult coloring books, either. Sometimes, just a cheap children’s coloring book or even some simple print-out sheets from the Internet work just as well, if not better, than the adult coloring books.
Disney will always be great, no matter what age you are. There should be no stigma about liking Disney movies or shows when you get older; we all have something that we like about Disney. From the music to the beautiful movies to the parks, Disney isn’t just for children. It is definitely one of those things that self-conscious kids will not admit to liking because it’s “babyish," but many of the movies have darker themes and can remain thought-provoking throughout your adulthood.
Swings are still just as good as they used to be. The feeling of the wind whipping your hair in front of your face as you lift off the ground is exhilarating and fun. Though we don’t all go to playgrounds like we used to, if you find yourself near a park with a swing set, I urge you to try swinging again. Bonus points if you’re brave enough to jump off at the top.
5. Video Games
Video games get a bad rap in the media today, as most gamers are portrayed as lazy, Monster-drinking, Cheeto-eating guys with no lives. Well, that stereotype is completely wrong. Video games can be good for anyone, at any age. There are definitely video games aimed towards adults, but even the ones for children can still be fun as you get older. One of the games I used to play when I was younger, Animal Crossing, remains one of my favorite games to this day. Don’t let anyone shame you into not playing the games that you love.
6. Stuffed Animals
Do you have a favorite teddy bear? Does a stuffed animal have special meaning to you? Do you just like the feeling of hugging a stuffed animal to your chest? The good news is that there is no age limit on stuffed animals. If you like them, go ahead and cuddle with them. Weighted stuffed animals, such as Beanie Babies, can also be great if you have sensory overload issues, so try not to judge people for still having them.
7. Hanging out with your parents.
This is definitely something that, while uncool when younger, is definitely worth spending time on when older. Especially when away at college, seeing your parents and hanging out with them seems that much sweeter. And sometimes, you just need a hug or to be told that everything will be okay. Nothing wrong with that!
When you’re younger, it may seem cool to brag about how late you stayed up or how many all-nighters you pulled, but you know what’s even better than that? Sleeping as much as you possibly can. As you get older, taking naps becomes more and more luxurious and you’ll find yourself wanting to get into bed early, simply because being under the covers and closing your eyes is a wonderful feeling.
9. YA Novels
Enjoyed Twilight? Harry Potter? John Green novels? Well, keep enjoying them. Just because they are marketed for teenagers and younger children doesn't mean they don't withstand the test of time. Great literature maintains its worth even as you get older, so keep reading the novels you enjoy and don't feel any shame about it.
An important aspect of being a mature adult is owning up to the things that you like, even if the people around you view them as childish. The flip side of this trait is not judging others for their own version of adulthood, either. The truth is that most people do not have all "adult" traits. You can pay the bills and work forty hours a week and still watch Johnny Bravo on the weekends. So I urge you to enjoy the things you love without guilt or shame, because chances are good that other people enjoy those things, too. And by being brave enough to admit it, you might make others with the same interests feel more accepted, too. So turn on a rerun of The Powerpuff Girls, get out your D.S., and color in your color books. Enjoy your own version of adulthood.
Lead Image Credit: Markus Spiske via Unsplash