By Marilyn Fowler
We’ve all heard the term Second Childhood, and we have our own definition of what that means. It’s used in two ways, either referring to the loss of physical or mental capacities, such as senility and feebleness, or to just having fun acting like a kid again. I prefer the latter, with a sufficiently sound mind and my inner child who wants to get out and play.
To me, children are fascinating. They haven’t yet learned to dwell on regrets from the past and miss today’s blessings. They experience both pain and pleasure in life as we all do, but most seem able to bounce back, live more in the present and savor the good times. And they can change my mood with one of their beautiful smiles.
I remember when my own children were growing up expressing their curiosity, creativity, humor and forgiveness. An old piece of paper became an airplane, or one day they were mad at a playmate, but laughed together the next day without judgment. In winter they flew on the sled, in summer they swam the ocean in the kiddie pool, they read stories and said their prayers, and gave me hugs every day.
Ah, the innocence of childhood. And how wonderful if we could create a second childhood and experience some of the joy we knew as children in spite of some of the pain that may have been there too. But many older folks seem driven to express as mature adults according to an acceptable image. Otherwise would not be proper. But allowing our inner child to express in a second childhood promotes joy and health in our lives. And we do have a choice.
I do silly things once in a while, but now I intend to let my child out more often. Of course, due to physical limitations, I can’t stand on my head or walk five miles to the old swimming hole like I used to. But I can still play music and dance around the house, or play in my yard in the rain, or laugh at myself when I look in the mirror instead of moaning at what I see. And I don’t have to eat brussels sprouts if I don’t want to. Sounds good to me.
Then when someone shakes their head and says, “You must be in your second
childhood,” I’ll grin and say, “Absolutely.”
I wish you the joy of many second childhood shenanigans.
I’m a retired Licensed Clinical Social Worker/Psychotherapist. My professional experience includes Team Leader, then Director of Mental Health Services in the Duval County Jail in Jacksonville, Florida; coordinating mental health services in five nursing homes, working on in-patient units, and in private practice for a number of years. I teach a class at the University of North Florida on The Influence of Childhood Messages on Adult Life, I belong to the Chat Noir Writers Circle, and I write a self-help blog. (www.marilyngf.blogspot.com)
My memoir, Silent Echoes, was published three years ago, and my stories have appeared in several magazines and a book entitled, When God Spoke To Me. I’m now working on a fictional story, with a video on You Tube (Me and Granmama in the Hill Country Chapter 1) reciting the first chapter in costume using southern dialect.