This afternoon I was very kindly treated to afternoon tea. What better way to spend a Saturday afternoon?
Whilst enjoying the rather generous portions of sandwiches, scones, and cakes/pastries, conversation turned to one concerning the 'inner child'.
It's a phrase often used to describe when a person might display a moment of youth, freedom, silliness, immaturity, or partake in inappropriate humour... and many other examples of course. I was adamant that my inner child is extinct; that it no longer exists because I struggled to recall a moment of true youthful silliness. Too often I fear that I may be too sincere or serious for my own good. Perhaps it comes from my training - I am prone to analysing and observing and being somewhat overly self-critical and reflective; so much so that it tends to detract from my ability to see the lighter side of life. I often discuss balance, but I seem to forget that balance comes in all forms, and this too is a balance.
Of course, I stated quite truthfully that I didn't think I had an inner child - that my inner child might be hidden away somewhere so distant that even I didn't know where she was hidden. My statement was not only based on the self-perception that I typically search for deeper meaning and analysis, which makes my outlook really rather contemplative and insightful. But it was due to my usual disinterest in comedy shows/comedians whom my friends find adoringly hilarious, and my usual aggravation and impatience when others don't meet me in my prioritised 'matters of importance' or they seem to have an entirely different agenda in terms of responsibilities and decisions. OK, now I'm well aware I might be interpreted as a bore! However, I was surprised and grateful when I was reminded of an evening last week when we were walking home from a bar and I was happily reeling off food pun jokes (a long standing comedic conversation Anna and I sometimes partake in!). It reminded me that my inner youth isn't lost, it just sometimes takes a little longer to access it and embrace it.
There's no one or no where that defines what we must do - must we embrace our inner youth or battle with it? I am certain that balance is key, as it is with most things in life. The balance of seriousness vs. freedom/spontaneity. It seems odd, because from freedom comes autonomy and self-determination. Yet in this instance, the origin of freedom doesn't stem from the rational voice of the adult, but from the youthfulness of the spontaneous inner child. So the inner child, when balanced with our adult self, really isn't a terrible thing at all.