Some of the great movies of the 1980s were John Hughes creations that explored themes like rebellion, independence, free expression, and living life on your terms. You likely know them: Sweet Sixteen, Pretty in Pink, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and the Breakfast Club. They tapped into the human desire for excitement, personal fulfillment, happiness, and freedom.
Yet, most of the people who loved these movies as teens back in the 80s now can identify more with the antagonists than the teenage heroes. Why? They got old. Sure, with age comes a sense of responsibility and getting your life together. Sadly, however, it almost always also comes with getting uptight, losing a passion for life, and letting yourself go.
However, while a lot of adults live boring lives they hate, it’s not inevitable. The key to being happy, I believe, is to think young. In other words, keep your wisdom and experience, but still embrace the best parts of youth and never give them up.
With that in mind, here are a few tips to think young and be more happy. You don’t have to turn back into an awkward, rebellious teen. But, maybe you can capture some of the excitement and passion you lost.
Laugh (A Lot)
The statistics point to a sad fact about adults. They laugh a lot less than kids. We are typically taught at school or by other authority figures that laughter is inappropriate or a waste of time (usually by very unhappy people). So, the easy laughter we have as children gets stifled and we gradually turn into uptight, over-stressed adults.
While you don’t want to always be un-serious or a goof off, if you want greater happiness, add humor to your life. Lots of it. Watch funny movies, be around funny people, and, most importantly, find humor in your everyday life. It’s better to laugh at life’s foibles than to be emotionally crippled by them, especially since laughter has serious health benefits.
Oh and learn to laugh at yourself. Just because you’re an (allegedly) important adult doesn’t mean you’re perfect. In addition, being fun and funny is a very attractive trait.
Below is a funny clip.
Break Out of Your Rut
One trait of youth is spontaneity. Granted, it’s much easier to be spontaneous with no bills and obligations, but still. If you want to think young, add some thrill to your life. Break with your schedule a little. I dare you!
You’ll find just doing enjoyable things in the spur of the moment really can add a spark to your life. Life can get really bland when we fall into a deep rut. It doesn’t even have to be completely spontaneous. You can plan it. But, make it different than your usual activities, even radically different. Step outside of your comfort zone and reap the benefits. It could be an activity (like sky diving) to trying something new (like a painting class). Whatever it is, make it fun and exciting for you.
Embrace The Latest Trends
A study a couple years ago found that older people with the highest quality of life had one trait in common: they kept up with newer trends. They knew how to think young, not old. So, instead of complaining about the kids of today and newfangled technology, they actually embraced the new. They owned smart phones, surfed the internet, and interacted positively with young people.
You should do the same. Don’t turn into a mid life crisis stereotype (although there are upsides to a mid-life crisis), but find ways to connect to the cutting edge in the present. Give new music a chance. Find the good in the current decade. Embrace technological advances. Avoid the “get off my lawn” old fogey mindset.
Connect With New Friends
The odds are good that if you’re older you’re set in your ways with your friends group. And, it’s likely people very similar to you. And, if you don’t like your uptight, old person traits, then your similar friends are only making those traits worse.
If you want to feel happier, then it’s time to make new friends who are less uptight and more fun. You don’t have to ditch the old ones, but you should consider leaving the toxic ones behind.
You can still make friends at any age. It will be more difficult, though, and you’ll have to take risks and be open minded. But, as you recall, that’s how you most likely were when you were younger!
So, I hope this post can help you think young and be more happy. Get out of your old person thinking and start enjoying life again. I triple dog dare you.