Unless you join Peter Pan in Neverland, everyone has to grow up one day.
Paying bills, getting a job, and facing life’s hurdles are (fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your outlook on life) things we all have to do one day.
But just because you’re getting older, does that mean you have to lose your playfulness and creativity?
We all grow up, every day in fact, but many of us lucky ones stay young at heart – no matter how long it’s been since we left kindergarten.
Want to know if you’re a young person at heart? Chances are you’ll find joy in these 7 activities!
1) Being outdoors or in nature
The first explanation for our love of nature was proposed back in the 80s when a biologist introduced the idea of “biophilia”.
Essentially, it means we humans have an instinctive “draw” to nature and its surroundings.
When you’re young at heart, you don’t need a theory to tell you that you’re drawn to nature and being outdoors – you already know it!
When you wake up in the morning, you’ll happily sit out on the balcony drinking your coffee. If it’s a sunny day, you’ll gladly lounge under the sun reading your book.
On the weekend, you love nothing more than venturing into a forest or park so you’re surrounded by nature.
Because just like kids love playing (or simply being) outdoors, so do you!
2) Trying new things
When you’re young, you’re constantly doing new things. Very rarely do you see a kid say no to something or decline an invitation to a party.
Why? Because they’re excited and actually find joy in doing new things.
But the older you get, the less excited people are generally about trying new things. This is partially because it’s harder to find new things to do as you get older.
But also because you get comfortable in your ways and routines – and stepping outside your comfort zone seems risky rather than enjoyable.
However, this couldn’t be further from the truth for people who stay young at heart. No matter how old you are, you love the idea of trying new things.
A friend invites you to a climbing wall after work? You jump at the chance!
Your sister tells you a new lip gloss will suit you? You head out and buy it!
Your boss offers you a chance to work in a new office space? You can’t wait to give it a go!
Whatever it is, you love the idea (and actuality) of doing new things when you’re young at heart.
3) Playing with animals
Another trait you retain when you’re young at heart is your overall sense of playfulness.
And when you don’t have kids in your immediate or extended family, you’ll find joy in playing with animals instead.
Some people may say you’re childish when you buy your cat a new toy or pick up your dog’s favorite squeaking chicken.
But for you, nothing makes you happier than chucking it about for your pets to enjoy!
4) Making new friends
When your boss sends you to a networking event, does the idea of it fill you with dread? Or does your stomach flutter with excitement?
Making friends definitely gets harder the older you get. When you’re young, the idea of going to middle school or college brings about the prospect of making new friends.
Which for most people, is an exciting thing to look forward to.
Yet, according to experts, making friends doesn’t happen organically when you get older and reach adulthood. Therefore, it becomes harder and even less exciting.
But when you’re young at heart, you hold onto the excitement of meeting new people.
When your friend invites you to a party, or to a wedding with no one you know, you can’t wait to go along and speak to someone new.
Because who knows? You may make a new friend!
5) Doing anything creative
Painting, knitting, crocheting, drawing, gaming, or writing poetry – whatever it is, you’ll love these activities (or at least the idea of them) when you’re young at heart.
Don’t get me wrong – there’s nothing “kid-like” about any of these activities.
In fact, many experts say how important it is to stay creative to maintain brain development and improve your mental health in adulthood.
But since these activities are usually things we do (and make time for) as kids, getting creative is something most of us lose sight of the older we get.
But if you find joy in getting your hands dirty with paintbrushes or a pottery class – or knitting your friends a blanket for their new home – you’re young at heart!
6) Living for the here and now
Planning for the future is something you still do when you’re young at heart. But because you’re so free-spirited, you much prefer going with the flow and seeing where life takes you!
Your idea of a perfect road trip isn’t having A to B planned out from start to finish, with every stop (even down to the gas stations you’ll refill at) mapped out.
Instead, the dream for you is filling the tank, heading out on the open road, and stopping wherever takes your fancy along the way! (All the while, staying safe, of course).
Because for you, you like to live in the here and now. Some things in life have to have a plan when you reach adulthood.
And setting goals for your life is the best way to achieve your full potential and live life to the fullest.
But a bit of spontaneity doesn’t ever go amiss – and it’s something you revel in doing every so often when you’re young at heart!
7) Getting into trouble
Not serious trouble, of course – like anything major with the cops.
But being a little bit cheeky and flexing the rules sometimes gives you a spark of excitement and a good chuckle.
My brothers and I often say that my dad is young at heart – mostly because he loves a bit of mischief on occasion!
If we’re playing Monopoly as a family at Christmas, we always have to keep an eye on him to make sure he’s not cheating.
He’s renowned for stealing an extra $100 from the banker when he passes GO or slipping a second Mansion on his street when we’re not looking.
And not because he wants to win or get away with it.
If anything, he wants to get caught! Because it always sparks a good laugh in us and becomes a running joke for the entire Christmas period.
He does it to make us laugh and poke fun at the seriousness of the game, because, guess what? He’s a big kid at heart.
Being young at heart is never a bad thing.
There’s nothing wrong with tapping into your younger self and letting it enjoy things it’s always loved – regardless of how old you are.
In fact, studies have even found that being young at heart promotes a positive mindset that improves your overall health and wellbeing.
So if you find joy in these activities as an adult, don’t ever let anyone tell you you’re “too old” to enjoy them.
Embrace your creativity and inner child – and keep doing the otherwise known as “childish” things that bring you joy!