Of course we’re regressing, progressing, digressing at any given moment of the day, and that’s OK if you’re OK with it.
Regression is when we put aside the carefully formulated poses of adulthood and return to something more child-like in our response to the world.
Personally, I think we do a fair amount of this if we’re listening, really listening, not just sitting with our scholar caps on, to stories and poems.
If you’re listening to a story, particularly a children’s story, and let it sweep you away, you might suddenly find yourself in the body of a three or four year-old again, genuinely curious as to why a tiger might be hiding out in a tree, or only eating food that begins with a “T”, and other rhyming questions.
I can hear this happening to me as Jane reads Tim The Terrible Tiger. I forget about being a 40 year-old bloke with a mortgage, and just zing around with the energy she brings to reading this story.
You might not want to hear yourself in this state (one is more exposed as a 4 year-old than a 40 year-old); I winced a bit hearing my voice on this recording. Jane reads beautifully though, and you get to regress in the privacy of your own listening space, so ’tis very much worth it.
Freud was a little sniffy about regression, but he then again, he was sniffy about so much that we now know to be just fine and dandy.
I prefer Joel Gold on the phenomenon:
“There are numerous vital experiences that cannot be achieved without adaptive regression: The creation and appreciation of art, music, literature and food; the ability to sleep; sexual fulfillment; falling in love….Perhaps the most important element in adaptive regression is the ability to fantasize, to daydream. The person who has access to their unconscious processes and can mine them, without getting mired in them, can try new approaches, can begin to see things in new ways and, perhaps, can achieve mastery of their pursuits.
In a word: Relax.”