We all want to let loose our inner child. Not just the mischievous one, but the carefree one, the one that isn’t judged, that’s loved unconditionally, the one that relishes each day with the excitement due a life of fresh experiences.

Everyone feels like a phony as they age. As society starts to treat us with respect commensurate with our years, we want to pull society aside and say things like “I know you think I’m thirty, but on the inside I’m really still the same kid I was in high-school.” When we become parents, we think “Geez, I’m not old enough to raise a kid, I’m still practically a kid myself!”

On the other hand, we desire (sometimes demand) that we are treated like grown-ups. We enjoy high-end dining and shopping because the wait-staff and sales-staff treat us all like heads of state. We all want the table to turn towards us when we speak, hanging on our every word like we are the wisest person in the room.

A select few individuals manage to have their cake and eat it too. Think pop stars, movie stars, sports stars. Because of their unique positions at the center of their own mini-industries, they’ve learned that people will treat them like sophisticated adults (“Yes, Sir.”, “Of course we have a table for you Ma’am.”) even if they act like teenage kids. And when presented with this option, do they choose to let out their inner child? You bet they do. Would you choose to do the same if you could have it both ways?

Thought Partner: Jen Koffel