Have you ever noticed that little kids run everywhere?

Literally everywhere.

When you’re an adult, you have to call it “going for a run.” And you can only do it if you have the proper designated running shoes and an iPod playlist full of songs with just the right amount of beats per minute. There’s also the minor conflict of getting back in time to catch the latest 90 Day Fiancé episode.

Meanwhile, kids can run in any attire, weather conditions, and without any preemptive wars in their mind about whether or not they feel up to it.

Yesterday I heard a girl say “Dad! I really hope I see a deer!” while she was running toward our lodge’s tubing hill.

She most definitely wasn’t going to see a deer, but that couldn’t curb her enthusiasm. She was too pumped about nature, and life, and tubing.

When was the last time you remember feeling totally, irreversibly excited about something? (And material things like purses, and expensive candles, and decorative bowls in the Target clearance aisle don’t count.)

When was the last time you had enough energy to run everywhere?

Sometimes you hear people talk about a ‘fountain of youth’ or a way to ‘turn back the clock.’

Because when you start to feel old, or tired, or overwhelmed with the pressures of a day-to-day routine it can be pretty appealing to imagine being young again.

But maybe the way to feel young is to act young.

I don’t mean you should go back to mispronouncing words or stealing packs of gum from gas stations. And you definitely shouldn’t run through the sprinkler shirtless in your front yard.

But you should be excited about life.

You should be so excited that you can’t help but run, or sing, or dance.

Just because you pay attention to politics and go to automatic carwashes doesn’t mean that the stars aren’t as bright or the snow isn’t as fun to play in.

Just because you’ve gotten bigger, doesn’t mean you have to grow up.

About this time of year, people start talking about their New Year’s resolutions and how their quest for self-improvement is finally going to gain some ground.

As if anyone honestly believes that Peggy will still be bugging you to join her in pilates after the first two weeks of January have passed.

Because really a pledge to exercise more or work less is just another drop in the bucket of annoying adult clichés.

The only thing that you should promise to your future self is that in 2016 you’ll appreciate life for the incredible phenomenon that it really is.

Spend less time trying to change or improve yourself, and more time loving the life that you are so lucky to have.

Run for no reason, mix ice cream flavors, and for God’s sake get excited about the deer!

Amber Dowler

Hi, I'm Amber. I am a traveling TEFL teacher, amateur skateboarder, and puppy gazer. I'm a vegetarian, but I'm dating a hot hunk of meat, and we have a beautiful rescue puppy together named Rafiki. I've called many places home, but nothing compares to the Midwest. You can follow me on my blog at http://smellslikeamericanspirit.com/ but please don't follow me around the airport because I never dress nicely for flights and the TSA takes any odd behavior pretty seriously these days.