Growing Up Too Fast? Grow DOWN Instead

While my girlfriend and I were getting ready to go to bed the other night, we were lamenting the fact that we have so many to-do lists, and life was starting to become more based around habits and chores, rather than adventure and spontaneity.  It wasn’t just University days that were fun, but even when we first starting living together in my old crappy apartment in the seediest part of Toronto, we just didn’t really care.

Nowadays without realizing, we spend too much time cooking, too much time doing chores, too much time working, and not enough interacting and hanging out with friends and family.

Basically, it seems like we are getting old and boring FAST.

Not that we can’t change certain things – we can try and change our jobs.  Change our habits.  Call friends more.  Spend more time for us to hang out.  Listen to music more like the old days.

The idea behind our lifestyle these days, is that we constantly have to take on more responsibilities: get a job, acquire stuff, clean the house, go to the gym, get groceries, cook, decorate, renovate, et cetera.

Like the Radiohead song “Fitter Happier”:

Fitter, happier, more productive
Comfortable
Not drinking too much
Regular exercise at the gym
(3 days a week)
Getting on better with your associate employee contemporaries
At ease
Eating well

Are these traits not just eating away at our creative and adventurous minds?

Ok, I’m getting off track – let me get to the point.  We eventually had a back-and-forth that really resonated with me, it went something like this:

Me: “It seems like we’re getting old pretty fast eh?  I don’t want to grow up.
GF: “So then let’s grow down instead.”
Me: “Wait… what?”

The idea of “growing down” immediately clicked with me.  Well done, girlfriend!

But what does it really mean to grow down?

I’d like to think growing down is the antidote to our fast-paced lifestyle.  Sure, it’s one thing to just save “have some fun”, but how can you change your life to get back to those carefree days of high school, college, and your honeymoon phase just after college – the days before you had all these responsibilities?

How to “Grow Down” and Shed Your Adult Responsibilities!

The following is a good starter list to help you “grow down”:

Automate Your Life. While I could write another 2500 words on this subject, do everything you can in your life to automate the tasks that eat up your time.  What sort of things could you automate?   The following could be a starter list:

  • Have your bills paid online automatically.
  • Use a website like Mint to track your finances directly and quickly.
  • Hire a cleaner to clean your house monthly or bi-weekly.
  • Outsource other facets of your life – not just cleaning.  Hire a virtual assistant to do all your “secretarial” tasks.  .
  • Automate your email.  If you use email, download these filters from Lifehacker – a must-have.

Shed Your Material Worth. Minimalize.  Get rid of your crap. More stuff means more maintenance, more cleaning, more money, more headaches.  Get rid of all those clothes you don’t wear.  Get rid of furniture you don’t use.  Clean out those shelves, those lockers, and those medinice cabinets of all the junk.

Set “Not-Do” Days and Nights. Too often are we worried about our to-do lists.  Well, set some weekend days or weeknights where you will do no chores and nothing from your to-do list.  Just relax, take it easy.  That kitchen will get cleaned the next day.

Decrease the Noise. Partly why we are so worried about responsibilities is that we are worried about letting other people down.  Well, take out that noise from other people.  Delete people you don’t talk to from Facebook.  Automate your Gmail.

Breathe. Take time to relax every night.  Meditate.  Stretch.  Drink tea.  No distractions will relax your mind and focus your thoughts on what makes you happy.

Get Friends to Help. Recruit some friends with this idea.  Tell them to grow down.  Take a night out with your friends, treat it like your old college days.  Play guitar hero.  Play beer pong.  Fuck it, you’re old – not dead!

But Be Careful…

A couple things you have to worry about before “growing down”:

Keep that Budget in Mind. Before you go and hire cleaners and virtual assistants, make sure it all fits within your budget.  Just because you CAN automate, doesn’t mean you should – especially if you’re going into debt.

Some Responsbilities Have to Get Done. That’s the truth unfortunately.  I’m not telling you to sell your house or leave your family, I’m just trying to get you to minimalize and to have some fun.

At The End of the Day…

When it’s all said and done, it’s all about the following:

Have Fun.
Be Creative.
Be Spontaneous.
Be Happy.
Enjoy Life.

How about you readers – got any tips for growing down?