When someone says they “feel like a kid again” what exactly are they feeling?
Are they feeling… shorter?
I don’t think so. Based on how people are typically behaving when they say they “feel like a kid again”, I would guess they are feeling some combination of joy, silliness, excitement, playfulness, a sense being in fully the moment-ness. Maybe even curiousness.
But if they are feeling these things now when they say it – as an adult – wouldn’t they also be feeling like an adult? Because they – an adult – are feeling these things right now, right?
Perhaps what they mean is “I often used to feel like this when I was a kid”.
Maybe. But it’s never phrased like that. It’s always phrased in a way that implies a distinction: there are kid feelings and there are adult feelings.
Though, as I’ve already stated, they are feeling it when they say it so it can’t be a feeling that just kids can feel, right? It’s not an emotional capacity issue. Adults can feel these feelings too.
So we can’t take the phrase at face value. We’re not talking about emotional capacity.
We’re talking about the permission to feel these things. We’re talking about what you “should” feel as a kid and what you “should” feel as an adult. What the phrase “like a kid again” implies is “I’m not allowed to feel this” or “I should not be feeling this but I am.”
But if we enjoy it and no one suffers from our experience of it, then maybe we should re-examine our thinking on this.
Why have we pigeonholed these emotions to how old we are despite the fact that we feel them at all ages? Why don’t we just own them as a part of our cradle-to-grave humanity? What would we be risking by doing so?
Bonus question: What would the phrase “this makes me feel like an adult again” imply?