One of the immediate reactions to yesterday’s post (just as I had expected) was from my one of my friends – “Abey, tu abhi tak bada nahi hua kya?” (Haven’t you grown up yet, man?). To which, my reply was – “Bada ho gaya, boodha nahi hua!!” (I have grown up, not grown old). While that repartee was enough to shut him up, it did leave me thinking. Why this bias against staying young in the mind? Physically everyone wants to stay on the right side of 30, though. Why do we place so much of a premium on “growing up” that displaying your inner child seems almost like a stigma?

Admittedly, this is a question I don’t have the answer to. Neither am I going to attempt answering that today. What I do have, however, is a firm belief that if you are not keeping your inner child alive and happy, you are doing life wrong. I have taken great pains to make that happen, and I can totally understand when you say that it is easier said than done. When life seems intent on serving you with disappointment in frequent doses, holding on to those nuggets of sunshine can be quite a task. But then, nothing worth having in life ever came easy. So, if your inner kid is still sporting a smile on his face, you’ve done great. 🙂 Keep doing whatever it is that you have done so far. And if he has a frown on his face (or worse, if you can’t seem to find him), let me tell you my way of making him smile. It may or may not work for you, but no harm in trying, I think.

First and foremost, stop caring for what the world would say/think. The moment you start worrying about what someone else would think of your actions, you’ve already started playing your game by their rules. And let me tell you this, it just doesn’t work that way. If its your life being played out, its your rules that have to be followed – as simple as that. Figure out what is most important to you, focus on that and your actions will follow suit. You will indeed need to step on a few toes while doing this, but as long as you are not doing anything devious or evil, you should be fine. This is the MOST difficult first step you will have ever taken, but the payoff is totally worth it. Now, if you are wondering how does that relate to your inner child, go and observe a child. Notice how their first priority always seems to be to keep themselves happy. They may shower their love on you, but will never put themselves in too much trouble, unless really required. This self-centered innocence is what we had as kids. When we “grew up”, we either “developed” it into an excessively self-sacrificing attitude or replaced it with an uncompromising “my way or the highway” stance. Neither of these really helped us, right? 🙂

Secondly, as a result of #1 above, there will be times you will feel that you are doing something wrong. Its quite natural to feel so, especially when your near and dear ones might be affected by some of the things that you end up doing. At times like these, ask yourself this very simple question – if you do what the world wants you to do, and end up being a sad, unhappy person, who (apart from yourself) will be affected the most? Yes – you got that right. A little bit of hurt is always necessary for growth. Trust me – if are honest with yourself and with them, the ones who really matter will still be standing there for you when you win over life at your own terms. The most important thing is to believe in what you are aiming for.

Lastly, and most importantly, NEVER EVER give up on yourself or that kid whom you are doing all this for. No matter how well (or not) you are doing in life, you always deserve a lot better. That is not going to happen all by itself. It will need sweat, blood, and often tears too before you finally taste the flourish of happiness. That is a heady mix – the feeling of having played the game by your own rules, and winning it. Don’t get cynical, don’t feel dejected. Whenever you feel the darkness of the night in your heart, remember that dawn is just a moment away. 🙂 You might get branded as foolish or too optimistic (I have been called that many a times), but then, hang on to that innocent, hopeful child who tells you that all will be well. 🙂

Life may have turned you into a disbeliever and you may have been intoxicated by the dark flavours of cynicism, but believe me – innocence is far more intoxicating. You only have to experience it once, and you will be hooked.

Normally, I like to end my posts with a flourish, a self-quote, so to say. This time though, Enigma have made the job easier for me. I couldn’t have said it better.

Follow just your own way, follow just your own way,
Don’t give up, don’t give up,
To return, to return to innocence…