As a writer and someone who is fascinated with language, I occasionally enjoy the freedom of exercising my poetic license in order to describe situations in which I can find no existing terms. That is how I coined the word kidult, which to me means living my best 58-year-old life while keeping those childlike qualities.
When I was a child, all of my friends and I would lament that adults had all the fun. We couldn’t wait for the time when we would be old enough to make our own rules and have no one to boss us around. We were so cool and were going to live differently. Then we plunged into adulthood and all of the responsibilities that come with living in an ever changing world. My grown kids use the verb adulting, and not in a flattering way, yet on Mother’s Day they remembered their childhood and romped around the yard picking dandelion bouquets and presenting them to me in clenched fists, all of us laughing.
Many of my peers are now sick and miserable. I am doing my best to be a kidult, but I often find myself alone on the playground. I am blessed to still remember what it is like to laugh and play, and make it a point to live that every day. I am surrounded by things I can complain about, but others have that covered…the media, individuals that whine about life demanding some form of compensation and groups that scream about unfairness. As Americans, we are joining tribes of marginalized citizens according to what we collectively protest. To me, this is nothing more than a bad habit carried over from childhood, keeping our name calling tendencies by labeling and accusing each other. Sticks and stones may break your bones, but names will never hurt you. They do.
People often tell me of that I am being persecuted, controlled, brainwashed. It seems funny that they point out problems that I do not experience. Perhaps that is because I am solution-focused and prefer to walk that kidult path. Regarding my age, I am not approaching the end of my life, I am living it. I have not abandoned that childlike sense of wonder or play that is present in all of us, but buried in most of us. The world is my neighborhood, my playground. Because of all the technology available to me, I am free to select my playmates from billions of people on the planet. I see the privileges bestowed upon me as an opportunity to help others.
Every day I seek out others from that neighborhood who are kidults like me. Those who are here for the purpose of enjoying ourselves while we are able. I lost another close friend last week in a “one minute he was here, next he was in heaven” style. We often call these unexpected deaths. Unexpected is one of those words that should never be used to describe death. My friend spent his time living his boyhood passion, while teaching it to others. A true kidult at heart. He was chronologically young, but lived a full life doing what he loved every day in a life that he created, making his own rules and smiling often.
So today I am calling all kidults to join my tribe, take my hand, celebrate, love and joy and help humanity. Customize that based on your passions. Let’s recruit others until society calls us a cult. After all, whether you like it or not, death should be expected at any moment. That thought helps you live life to the fullest.