“I have never been convinced there's anything inherently wrong in having fun.”
— George Plimpton
George Ames Plimpton (1927-2003) was an American journalist, writer, editor, actor, and gamesman. He is widely known for his sports writing and for helping to found The Paris Review.
Clearly not a frivolous guy who never grew up and never became a productive adult citizen [smiley].
I would even dare to say that if you play for the fun of it, laugh out loud, and are openly awed by sights and sounds you enjoy, you're living life right, not acting childish, and you don't need to grow up or settle down or act your age or any of those comments people throw at you to make you stop.
Those comments are about them, not you. They were shamed into giving up fun, and so it's very hard for them to see you having it. You can see it in the deep frown and hear it in the chiding tone of voice. Some people would rather hit you than let you get away with having a good time in front of them - that's how hard it is for them. In that way, it's been passed down from adult to youth, and from older kid to younger child. But no one needs to give up having fun.
Even when it's people with good intentions who try to stop it, the truth is - having fun, and showing it, is not the problem.
The problem is that people confuse play with irresponsibility. They think laughter comes from mindless inattention, and that to be light is to be incapable of taking things seriously. Are people who laugh less intelligent? Less responsible? Less capable? No. But they are happier. Instead of cutting fun out as you grow up, you just get to add being more responsible and more thoughtful in to the mix.
The last barrier we face is the inner voice, the one that is you telling yourself to stop it. if you've faced harassment and humiliation before, or you've seen other people get hit with the deterrents, you probably learned to make sure you don't do it in public. But trading a lifetime of joy, laughter and delight to protect yourself against periodic, empty humiliation isn't a win. Being ready to laugh and enjoy life is.
See what happens when random people let themselves have a bit of playful fun in public after encountering a ball pit set up on a city street downtown:
Amber Michelle Cook's Blog
A call to all grown-ups everywhere: Play!