It was my “umpteenth” date with him. He made me laugh so hard that tears rolled down my face. My seriousness had, in an instant, been washed away by wild, abandoned laughter. My hands slapped the chair, my mouth stretched wide, and my stomach hurt from laughing so much and so hard. I couldn’t control it, and I didn’t want to. I was like a balloon that had popped, and all the stale air was being let out until I was spent. All the obligations and expectations I had put on myself to be perfect and successful were seeping out of me with every snicker and snort.
I felt like a child, and I loved it. I couldn’t remember the last time I had felt like this. To think I almost didn’t give this guy a second date. At what point in my life did I forget to laugh like this? At what point did I forget to have so much fun?
Have you ever watched children play? They have this unbelievable ability to be so present and in the moment. All they want is to experience—to laugh and to enjoy life. As a kid in school I remember living for recess. To escape the confines of my desk chair so that I could run, skip and jump. I just wanted to move; to run from point A to point B. It was that simple, and that much fun.
A popular psychological concept is the idea that we all have an “inner child” that may become suppressed—repressed—by adult obligations and possible childhood traumas. To put it simply—at some point, most people forget who they really are and become who they think they should be. Somewhere along the way, we forget the simple act of being in the moment and enjoying life. Instead, we spend our time judging ourselves and feel like failures if we don’t live up to certain societal expectations. We give ourselves deadlines for when things should be accomplished, such as when we should get married or when we should be successful. We give ourselves certain standards of beauty to abide by. We then live in fear that we won’t meet these deadlines and standards. In the process of all this judging, the inner child gets buried deeper and deeper within us, and we forget how to truly live.
For many of us, exercise too has lost its inner child and become serious business. We workout to obtain unrealistic physical perfection, and we often do it begrudgingly. We run to be skinny. We jump so we can burn more calories in a shorter amount time. It is something we “have” to do instead of want to do. It falls into the category of obligation and expectation, and the fun is stripped away. Between boot camps, the Biggest Loser and P90X, fitness is severe. But fitness should and can be light and fun! It can be a great tool to rediscover your inner child and experience that same euphoria we experienced as a kid on the playground. It can help release the stresses of adulthood and help you reveal once again who you really are. It helps us practice being present, finding the simple joy in the act of moving, and the feeling of being alive.
I’m still dating this guy. I like him. Life works in mysterious ways. We meet people so that we grow, evolve, change and discard the layers of ourselves that no longer serve us. I am forever grateful for that laughter.
Find your joy. Find your passion and stay excited about life! Let fitness be your guide.
Tired of just running on the treadmill or doing the elliptical? Change up your routine by incorporating these fun childhood games and watch the pounds fall off of you. But remember, most importantly, have fun!
Sample routines: 30 minutes total (not including rest times)
Kit Rich is Los Angeles-based fitness trainer with endless exercise and nutritional know-how. Hollywood's hottest stars are addicted to Kit's unique, multi-disciplined approach that combines cardio, yoga, Pilates, and weight training. Kit's clients are immediately taken by her funny and honest approach to health and fitness. She treats her clients as she treats herself, "with a hard challenge, sensibility, sensitively, and a good laugh." Follow Kit on Twitter @kitrichfitness