Everyone knows about the “grown up” parts about being an adult. Paying the rent, wading through paperwork, sitting in traffic, grocery shopping. But, that’s not what we are talking about today. Today we are talking about actively seeking out and making way for magic and whimsy in your grown-up, adult life.

Use a planner and make a to do list
Alright, let’s get the boring junk out of the way first. The most efficient way of being a grown up without getting caught up in the monotony of it is to use a planner. Having everything in one place means you don’t have to spend time panicking about what’s left on your to do list, when your AmEx bill is due, when that proposal for work needs to be submitted or the time of the last final you have before summer vacation sets in. Whether it’s your smartphone and the ever wonderful Google Calendar function or an old school Moleskine date book, it’s going to keep all the stuff you have to do in line, so you can focus on what you want to do, instead. And if that regular old to do list is bumming you out and making you feel bad about all paper you are going through, check out an online alternative such as which turns getting everything done into a game complete with experience points, a cute little pixel based avatar and awesome item upgrades.

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Recognize that there is beauty in the ordinary and keep your eyes open
The sun comes up every day and goes down every night, but guess what, we are still instagramming it as if tomorrow will be different. Why? Well because there is beauty in the ordinary. Need more proof? Clean sheets, fresh cut flowers, Starbucks, Words with Friends, a paycheck every second Friday, your book club. All very ordinary and beautiful things. When we are babies, everything is fascinating. Pulling the socks from our feet, the way splashing in a puddle makes the water ripple even after we are still, the smell of the spot where our mother’s neck meets her shoulder all bring us immense joy but as we get older, we get desensitized. The world is full of amazing things but most of the time we walk right by or even worse step on them because we have somewhere to be. So much so that when we look back there is a great possibility all we will remember are thousands of hasty steps. There is magic everywhere but we need to retrain our eyes to see it again. Maybe we all just need to start looking at the world more like the author, Ray Bradbury, who said, “Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.”

Get outside of your box
After successfully recognizing how very cool the everyday can be, it’s time to move onto the next level. It seems silly to have to say this but, I’m going to anyway. Try new things: become a foodie, read Russian literature, try painting, start your morning with yoga, pick up a copy of Forbes magazine next time you are at the grocery store. Our twenties are spent bouncing between feeling like we know exactly who we are and having a panic attack because we feel so lost. Why? Because we are still becoming who we are and if we are lucky and doing it right, we’ll be figuring it out for the rest of our lives. That means touch, taste, feel, explore, eat, embrace, encounter. Figure out what you love and what you don’t by trying everything at least once, preferably twice.Not feeling brave? Start slow. Next time you go out to eat, skip your usual and try something you’ve never had.

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Remember the importance of recess
Yes, recess is to let hyperactive children literally run in circles for 45 minutes but it serves a higher purpose, and that purpose is mental clarity. It means recognizing when you need some space and actually allowing yourself to take it. Taking a break will make you more efficient, creative and aware of your own brand of magic. This kind of lucidity allows us to apply our own filter instead of accepting the one forged by monotony, stress, and frustration. Sometimes you just need a break to recover your sparkle.

What about you? What are your favorite whimsy wrangling techniques?

Photo Credit: Katherine Lee