Forever Young

“Dancing Queen” is my favorite song from Mamma Mia and my favorite song to sing in the shower. The whole point of the song is to shout our eternal youth from the rooftops. If we could all stay young, sweet, and 17, that would be amazing, but that’s not possible. ButDonna, the main character, is still a dancing queen, forever young, even though she is no longer 17. When I was younger all I wanted was to be 17 so I could be a dancing queen; I wanted to feel on top of the world. Unfortunately, I was so busy trying to be older that I forgot to be young. Now that I am 19, I feel let down that my dancing queen moment never happened. I feel so old and washed up, facing a life of boring adulthood; taxes, mortgages, wrinkles, and not getting carded when you buy alcohol because the bartender knows you are definitely over 21. But I have come to realize that the number of years I have been on this earth in no way correlate to who I am and what I can do. I will be a dancing queen at 70 because I will never lose my youth to the expectations of adulthood. What follows is a few ways I find help when you are growing older but don’t want to grow up.

 

  1. Eat whatever you want whenever you want. Who said being older means you have to eat veggies all the time? Boring people, that’s who. There’s no reason you can’t order pizza or eat ice cream for dessert or get cotton candy and dippin dots when you go to a baseball game. You have one life to live; it should never be a flavorless one. My personal philosophy is: as long as my body wants it, I can eat it. Our bodies have the amazing ability to tell us exactly what we need. Ever wonder why you crave chocolate on your period? It’s because the iron in your blood is low and 70% dark chocolate (or higher) will help restore that iron. Sure, you could eat salmon or broccoli to do the same job, but that’s no fun. Honestly, if we are all going to die in less than 50 years due to climate change, I am going to spend those 50 years eat all of my favorites. And if anyone questions you, you can kindly inform them that according to the US government, pizza is a vegetable.  

  2. Take every chance to dance and sing. Trust me on this one. I dance up and down the aisles of the grocery store and all around my room. I sing when I cook, when I clean, when I shower, and when I do homework. Dancing and singing are ways to show our emotions and no one can judge you for working through your emotions in a healthy way. It doesn’t matter if you’re good at it. No one is good at everything in life. So what do you have to lose?

  3. Play! Play tag with your friends, ala the movie Tag. Feeling free and having fun shouldn’t be limited to childhood. Blow bubbles and pop them all. I work at a summer camp and my job in the mornings is to blow bubbles as the kids walk into check-in. Not only is it one heck of an arm and aerobic workout, it also never fails to lift my mood. What’s better than spinning around in a cloud of bubbles? Play board games and card games. My best friend always carries a deck of cards and everywhere we go we’ll pull them out to play a quick game of Go Fish, or Gin-Rummy, or Slap Jack. Build pillow forts and cardboard castles. There are about a million and one things to do on a rainy day if you only have some pillows, sheets, and maybe a cardboard box. Plus, if you are in your own home no one will ever know. Finally and most importantly, do NOT step on a crack. You know better.

  4. Read fairy tales. Trust me, they get so much better the older you are. I love to read the Grimm Brothers because now the violence is so much more appropriate and hilarious. Whenever life gets me down I can escape into a world of fantasy that I know was home when I was a child. Added to that, you are never too old for Disney movies. There are some on Netflix, YouTube, and also Cornel1801. I recently started to try and track down the fairy tales of my childhood (I grew up on some pretty obscure ones) and oh my goodness did that bring up so many wonderful memories.

  5. Get excited about holidays. Christmas, Halloween, Valentines Day, and any other day. Not only are they all occasions for chocolate binges, but they are also socially acceptable times to get a little crazy. I start singing Christmas music the moment Thanksgiving dinner ends and do not stop until well past New Years. I love baking Christmas cookies, giving presents, decorating my house and all of the other wonderful things that go with the holiday. For Halloween I obsess over dressing up and handing out candy, plus all of the scary movies you can watch, and all of the witchy things that go down on midnight of Samhain. Now, I don’t have a bae but that’s no reason to not celebrate Valentine's Day. Saint Valentine is the saint of love and that includes self love. I buy loads of chocolate, do face masks, and watch the sappiest of rom-coms. There are also plenty of days you can celebrate, even if they’re not officially holidays. For example, Friday night is pizza night and I celebrate that with absolute devotion.

  6. View everything through the eyes of a child, with limitless optimism and joy. I am so serious about this one. I am a future kindergarten teacher and there is literally nothing in the world that can fully crush the hopes of child. Nothing. And they make everything out to be the greatest event of their lives. Mostly because they have only been alive for a short time so it probably is the greatest thing to happen to them. One time there was a butterfly at recess and maybe 10 of the kids saw it but for the next 4 hours all I heard about was that butterfly. Every single child was absolutely elated that the butterfly has existed and that is the kind of attitude we adults need about everything. Get excited about coffee, tell everyone about how great your outfit or clothes look today, and never forget that if it’s Monday, that means Friday is only four days away.

We are alive here and now, so live here and now to the fullest. You will never be as young as you are right now, but that doesn’t mean you have to act any older. Don’t get so caught up in the rat-race of adult life, take a moment to see the world like a child would, as though you are seeing everything for the first time.