OPINION: GO BE A KID

India Kirssin | Managing Editor

Welcome to the jungle.

That’s always my first thought as I enter the St. Louis City Museum. Metal climbing monstrosities crowd the outside of the old downtown building. An old school bus hangs off the top and right next to it is a ferris wheel. On the roof. Inside, tunnels and slides hang out over the huge staircase, connecting each floor. A “forest” fills the foyer and inside each tree are a countless number of tunnels that lead to indoor caves, secret passageways and a 10 story slide. This “museum” is every kid’s dream.

It should also be every 18-year-old’s.

At a time when colleges are pushing for leaders, money is short and scholarships are sitting on a list that has yet to be checked off, reverting back to childhood seems to always provide and sure-fire stress relief.

I realized this when a friend and I visited the City Museum on break. After showing our IDs to prove we were 18 and could be responsible for ourselves, we spent the afternoon climbing in and out of spaces that were not built for us, fighting claustrophobia, and trying to keep up with the kids. Ironic, right? We were even scolded by a six year old who was tired of waiting behind us while we tried to squeeze through a “dead end.” It was not a dead end, and he was more than happy to point out that we were wrong in every way. Kids.

I walked away from the building content, tired, and relaxed. I may have looked ridiculous and lost my little brother in the tunnels more than once, but I was happy. I know it sounds silly but taking even the smallest amount of time out of your day to pause and reflect can make a world of difference. Participating in childhood activites remind us of a simpler time, a time were we worried about very little.

This was just my most recent reminder to occasionally let my inner eight-year-old out, and the surprising amount of adults at the museum who crawled and weaved through tunnels with or without their children helped solidify the craving we all have to let loose and be a kid again, if even for a short period of time.

So, when you’re lost and alone (or just plain stressed), find a playground, watch Hannah Montana, color, play kick-the-can, or do something from your childhood that helps you get nervous energy out. Sometimes our eight-year-old selves need to be heard.

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