Some holidays should never end.
I’m not talking about Christmas, the Fourth of July or even the increasingly popular Halloween (which now features the increasingly uncomfortable Adult Costume Party).
Today is National Goof-Off Day. It’s not exactly a big-ticket holiday, but in a world filled with super-serious adults, this is the day we should celebrate 365 days a year.
Especially assimilated adults.
You know these people – the ones who embrace the responsibilities of adulthood without fearing the inevitable loss of a joyous, youthful soul. Assimilated adults resign themselves to lives of responsibility, serious endeavors and a sensible wardrobe. They check their smoke alarm batteries twice a year. They know what kind of gas mileage their cars get. They know what they pay in property taxes (every year). These are the adults who understand what society expects of them and do the right things the right way. Goofing off? They wouldn’t dream of it.
But some of us join the world of adults kicking and screaming. We are accidental adults: those whose age indicates maturity but whose approach to life often suggests otherwise. We are reluctant grownups who refuse to accept we’re just like every other chump with credit card debt and an aching lower back. When we look in the mirror, the person we see staring back is decades younger and way cooler. We may spend an hour researching the best place to meet for a happy hour—you know, someplace not too noisy, with adequate restroom facilities and convenient parking. But the point is, we still go, while many other adults hurry home to finish that drop ceiling in the new rec room. Are they conscientious? Absolutely. Fun? You tell me.
For accidental adults, National Goof-Off Day is observed year ‘round. We give our kids scooter rides (at low speeds) through our neighborhoods. We occasionally run through a grocery store, sprinting down the aisles and jumping onto the shopping cart’s lower-shelf to glide for a while. We don’t just blather about getting the band back together. We’ve reunited the boys already. Now get in the garage!
Goofing off is our way of telling the world to lighten up every now and then. But it doesn’t make us irresponsible. We accidental adults have successful relationships and careers. In all we do, we strive to master the art of caring less without becoming careless.
I’m willing to bet that a psychiatrist would tell me my perspective on adulthood is really just a coping mechanism to avoid the crushing reality that I’m a married man responsible for a mortgage, three young kids and replacing the furnace filter regularly. Could be. And I suppose I’ll get a therapist someday soon like assimilated adults and find out for certain.
But in the meantime, I’m comfortable knowing that I’m in good, goofy company. Because every day I see evidence of other accidental adults like me— people my age who are capable, working professionals whose personal heroes are Tommy Lee and Chris Farley. People who can spew Caddyshack quotes verbatim. People who can’t taste the difference between a Cabernet or a Chianti, so they grab a Corona and look for a lime instead.
And the best part is, we really don’t care. Why? Because we know life is too short to worry about succumbing to adult convention at every opportunity. Acting our age doesn’t have to mean losing our cool. Take it from the kid whose quest to take a day off was immortalized on film 25 years ago. Anyone? Anyone?
Yep. Ferris Bueller.
In honor of National Goof Off Day, I say Ferris Bueller’s approach to life shouldn’t be dismissed as a transgression of our youth. What’s wrong with embracing it today? Checking in with our inner adolescent reconnects us to a wonderful, carefree and thrilling spirit that nourishes our soul. It’s a beautiful thing to throw a little caution to the wind, goof off, act young at heart and play hooky from life every now and then—so long as you know when it’s time to check out of that addictive yet unsustainable mindset and rejoin the grownup world again.
So let’s take the Ferris Bueller philosophy and apply it to our adult lives whenever life gets too serious, complicated or demanding. How can we possibly be expected to handle life/work/parenting/home improvements on a day like this? The school-skipping, life-living character in the film put it best when he observed, “Life moves pretty fast. You don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
An attitude like that is worth embracing all year long.