What happens when you combine the words "cheer" and "earth"?

I would like to introduce you to my favorite word: chearth. Don't bother reaching for a dictionary.

A friend, Phil, made up the word years ago, along with its adjective form: chearthy.

I don't remember exactly how the concoction popped into existence. But I like to think of the word as a combination of the words “cheer” and “earth.” Phil likes that idea, too.

We seemed to need the word during our teenage years and into our early 20s – the formative years when we were starting to spread our wings, starting to step in to the world of adults.

As we looked around we liked that we could do more things, like drive and go to bars. We were anxious to race full-speed ahead. Only one thing made us pause.

Why were adults always so serious, so rigid? Their voices seemed fraught with concern. They looked bogged down as responsibilities furrowed their brows.

This seemed like death to us. How were we to prevent the hand-me-down clichés about the tough world from coming out of our mouths? How would we stop our shoulders from rounding as the weight of the world set in?

Our answer was chearth. We developed the concept to remind us where we came from, a land of surprise and wonder for anyone who hasn’t been jaded.

Wasn’t just hanging out with a friend in your own backyard enough fun when you were younger? At dusk, you could run after lightning bugs. And when you were 17, wasn’t driving around with the stereo on enough fun?

It seemed like this take on life was worth keeping so we developed exercises for staying chearthy, like skipping. (It’s impossible for an adult not to be chearthy while skipping.)

Exercises might vary from person to person, but the point is to do something silly, something that would have entertained you as a kid, but makes the self-conscious adult in you cringe just a little bit.

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