By Sunny Simon

Last evening I had a conversation with my five-year-old niece Alina. We discussed all things Thanksgiving: her mom’s famous lumpy gravy which she pretends to like, her nana’s yummy pumpkin mousse, requiring no pretending and the games she intends to play with visiting cousins. As the conversation progressed I asked her what one thing topped her thankful list. Without missing a beat she said her swim class. I inquired why this was such a monumental blessing. Alina sighed as if I just didn’t get it and patiently explained that when she gets in the water she is no longer Alina the girl, she becomes Alina the fish. She continued her monologue by relating as a fish she could race with the other fish, open her eyes underwater and she didn’t have to go to school. When I informed her that fish swim in schools, she laughed, called me a silly auntie and we said good-night.

As I whispered up a prayer that night I gave thanks for both Alina the girl and Alina the fish. I found it interesting that I struck her as silly, because it suddenly occurred to me lately my life was lacking in the laughter department. Making a vow to spend more time with people under the age of six and reclaim my inner child I drifted off to sleep.

The demands of adult life can be hard on the inner child. Getting caught up in a myriad of activity especially around the hectic holiday season finds many of us complaining we are crazy busy. Giving in to this busyness and letting it take control drives us to lose connection with the joyful, creative child of our youth.

In her book, “Recovery of Your Inner Child,” Dr. Lucia Capacchione explains we each possess a “playful child” who has a real capacity for joy. This inner child emerges when you delight in playing with your dog, hiking a nature trail or even singing in the shower.

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If you feel your zest for life waning, it may be time to reconnect with your playful inner child. Take a moment to clear away some of the busyness from your calendar. Replace those mundane duties with activities that bring joy. Go to the zoo, take your dog to the park or catch a funny movie. Take a trip to a hobby shop, read a children’s book and give yourself permission to skip. I’m off to one of those “build a bear” shops. Want to join me? We’ll bring out the inner child in both of us.

Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching. More about Sunny at www.raisethebarhigh.com 

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