Five Reasons We Need Whimsy in Our Lives
Being an adult is serious business. Trying to keep it all together while holding down a job to pay the bills. Taking care of your kids and loved ones while dealing with all the other stresses of life. And trying to do it all with flair and a smile so people don’t know how much of a struggle it sometimes is. Because if they know you’re struggling, then somehow that comes across as a failure, right?
People, life is hard. They don’t tell you that when you leave high school and head out into the world. At first, the struggle is exciting.It’s new, it’s your own. But if you’re lucky, your adult life will last longer than a decade. And this is what no one tells you—that with each passing year, each passing decade, the weight of life grows heavier.
Responsibilities, life tragedies, health problems—all of it accumulates over the years and it takes a toll. At least it does on me. So when I find that life gets too heavy, then it’s whimsy to the rescue!
1. Lovely lighthearted laughter
I love to laugh—show me a person who doesn’t. It eases tension and breaks the ice. Dissolves anger and frustration. It lets light shine in the dark places and makes everything seem just a little bit better. When whimsy is done well, it lets me laugh at its ridiculousness. At the very least, it will make me smile. And smiling is a great stress reliever in and of itself. So don’t roll your eyes at that hedgehog tea party. Grab yourself a cup, smile, and let yourself have fun! I promise you’ll feel better.
2. Life—what’s the big deal?
I mentioned it before—being an adult is serious business. So serious it needs to be capitalized. It’s the province of business suits, uncomfortable shoes, mortgages, boring conversations, and of course, obligations of various sizes, shapes, and densities. Whimsy pokes holes in all that. It helps remind us that even though all of those things are important, they’re not the be-all, end-all in life. It reminds us that it’s okay to be silly, to have fun, to laugh at our own flaws and eccentricities. So wear crazy socks with your suit or sneakers with your dress. Put the unicorn stickers you stole from your daughter on the dashboard of your car. Embrace your quirkiness and let it shine through. Your special brand of uniqueness makes the world a better place.
3. Knitting a cozy for the heart
Whimsy can be sweet and adorable, and when it is, it warms our hearts—like fat puppies rolling around on a carpet. I remember seeing a video some time ago of people who were stressed out and would sit in a glass booth with a bunch kittens. And they would smile and feel happy. Because who wouldn’t smile and feel happy with a legion of fuzzy kittens crawling over them? And that’s what whimsy does for us. It rejuvenates us. It lets us find hope that the world isn’t so bad. It softens the rough, cutting edges of life.
4. Whimsy makes life more interesting
How boring would it be if we all wore grey, all ate the same things, all had the same opinion? Whimsy makes life more interesting. It adds a splash of color to our sometimes drab surroundings. I want a world where talking snails can have existential crises, where there’s kleptomaniac rodents and beer-drinking gnomes. Whimsy is the cinnamon in our porridge, the jam on our toast. We can exist without it, sure. But do we really want to just exist? Or do we want to thrive? Whimsical fantasy lets us thrive in a way the real world can’t.
5. Your inner kid needs to play too
Did you know that approximately 55% of people who read Young Adult books are, in fact, full-grown adults? There are undoubtedly lots of reasons for this. Escapism, nostalgia, themes in YA remaining relevant even among adults. Whatever the many reasons might be, I believe one of them is that a lot of adults want to remain connected with their younger self. This is not a bad thing.
Whimsy might be dismissed as childish, but the truth is all adults could benefit from being a little childish from time to time. Playing hard. Laughing freely. Not worrying about the future. If I can incorporate these things into my life, I wouldn’t consider it childish. I would consider it a life worth living.
Sara C. Snider is the author of the new fantasy book Hazel and Holly as well as two other fantasy novels—The Thirteenth Tower and A Shadowed Spirit—and a dark fantasy novella, The Forgotten Web, which won the novella category in the 2015 Lyra Contest. She has a bachelor’s degree in Archives and Information Science and is a proud member of the Stockholm Writers Group.