fingerpainting.jpg Every week starts and ends the same way. Work all day, sleep, school all day, sleep, work all day, sleep, school all day, sleep, work all day, sleep... In the bits and pieces of "spare" time it's easy to sink in on the couch and watch TV. When I start to feel too "grown up", I have to improvise.

Today I had a conversation with a friend who is also dealing with the massive decisions that come with years. Just thought I'd use this opportunity to post a few tips, all of which have worked for me, on how to recapture a moping/hiding inner child.

* Pour yourself a glass of juice, grape or apple is best. But use a wine glass. The point? Well, now that we're all old enough to drink. Any allure it had may have worn off. However, I think we all pretended at one point, pre-21st birthday, that we were all "grown up" and at a fancy cocktail party, or relaxing in our mansion with a glass of wine. Acting it out again is fun, plus there's no headache in the morning when you have to go back to work. :-)

* Grab your significant other (who you are with because they understand when you want to be silly) and then grab a favorite movie from your childhood. Thankfully Jon and I both love the classic Disney animated feature films, but anything you loved as a kid will work. Snuggle up and sing along with the songs or laugh before the jokes you know by heart can even be made.

* Wear only one sock. Seriously. It looks goofy, it feels weird, and it's the kind of thing you would have subconsciously done for hours when you were five.

* Call a friend you haven't seen a while. Giggle with them! No shame. Suddenly you're in fifth grade again, back when you dreamed about boyfriends even before you found boys attractive.

* Fingerpaint! No kidding. Supplies are cheap. And the smooth, cool texture of the paint will relax you... nevermind your artistic talent (or lack thereof)... just go! Paint, man! Paint!

* Do elementary school math. No one probably would have guessed that of me... but one part of math I always loved was fractions! Seriously. I used to go crazy over the packets my teachers used to give me to teach me to multiply, divide, add, subtract and play with fractions. Just running over little problems in my head, easily manageable, recognizable problems, makes me relax. Oh, and don't feel bad if you have forgotten how to do some of the math from your youth... be happy! Why? Because you were absolutely right when you said to your parents, "But Moooooom, Daaaaaad, I don't have to care about this stuff because I'm never going to use it again!"

* Shop at a thrift store. Not for the faint of heart because, as my Dad would say (and has said many times), God only knows where that junk has been! Never stopped me. Probing through the stuffed racks of clothes you'll come upon t-shirts bearing familiar logos from your past. Power Rangers, Ninja Turtles (Jon was impressed that I could name three of the four... and April... I never watched them, but they were a part of the culture). You don't have to buy anything. Gees.

* Start a pillow fight. Yay! Just wait until your best friend or boyfriend or husband isn't suspecting anything, and then WHAP! them with a pillow. Lightly. Gently. Not in the face. You know the rules. When they look at you, awestruck, WHAP! them again and then run! No matter who loses, everybody wins.

* Color a picture. This summer some of my friends and I bought a coloring book and spent an afternoon coloring with markers. Unproductive you say? We have the vibrant portraits of Disney princesses to prove you wrong!

* Bake cookies. Anyone, even me, can follow a chocolate cookie recipe. No excuses now. It's on the back of the bag of chocolate chips. Just follow the instructions, play some music while you work, put away the ingredients as you use them so that you have less clean up at the end, drop 'em in the oven and then... you get to lick the bowl! Watching your figure? Give the cookies to neighbors, coworkers, classmates or friends. You get brownie points w/o the calories. Sounds great to me.

* Write an old fashioned letter to someone who will appreciate the gesture. By old fashioned I don't just mean with pen and paper. Practice your cursive. You know you're rusty. The days of looping endless rows of L's to satisfy your penmanship grade are long gone. We type too much to remember the accomplishment we felt after a session of simply writing letters. So sit down and pen a lovely letter to your grandma, your aunt, your mom, or even your Jane Austen loving best friend.

I understand that most of my tips apply better to girls than boys. But that's okay. All a guy has to do is find a basketball or a soccer ball or a baseball and a best friend.. and then get out and just plain RUN! And there's nothing wrong with getting in touch with your sensitive side by taking part in some of these activities, guys.

Boy, I'm lucky Jon puts up with me. :-)