…Is that we’re all just too damn grown-up.
I’ve always considered myself a fairly playful person. I mean, I laugh pretty easily … about pretty much anything … and I think I have a fairly bright outlook on life. But lately, I’ve been feeling down. Feeling like I SHOULD be doing more on my business. Feeling like I SHOULD be doing more with my kids. Feeling like I SHOULD be doing more around the house. Feeling like I SHOULD be … well, you get the picture. I was buried under an avalanche of shoulds with no sure sign of help on the way.
But something changed on Mothers Day. All my SHOULDS magically transformed into COULDS. Here’s how it went down:
I woke up around 7 a.m. There’s no sleeping in for me any more. Too many mornings waking up at 6 or 6:30 am with the kids – my body clock is SET. Anyway, I kept thinking to myself, “Go back to sleep. Hubby’s got the kids and it’s YOUR day.” Then I remembered that I wanted to go for a run. AND, since brunch was at 10:30 a.m., I realized I better get my ass up and out or a run wasn’t going to happen.
So, I got up. I put on my favorite running skirt and a new race shirt that doesn’t make me feel like I’m cramming myself into workout clothes that are a testament to my “formerly in-shape” glory. In other words, I dressed (cue shock and horror) comfortably.
My girls were at the kitchen table having breakfast, greeting me with “Happy Day!” That always brings a smile. Cards and some presents materialized. That’s fun. My husband says, “Hurry. Go. Otherwise you won’t.” And he’s right, so I head out the door with tunes playing in my ears and no real “goal.”
It was BEAUTIFUL out there. I mean, gorgeous. Cool but sunny. I’m watching my pace. I’m taking walk breaks at “appropriate” intervals. I’m checking my watch. I’m planning my route and my day. I’m dodging puddles or running softly through them so that my feet don’t get wet and I don’t splash mud up on myself. In other words, I’m being responsible. I’m being a mom. An adult.
Then, I reach the turn-around point. And something happened. A simple observation of all the puddles I had been dodging turned into, “I should jump in every single one of those puddles on the way home.” As I approached the first puddle on the return trip (which would have been the LAST one I had just carefully dodged) I stopped. I looked into the puddle. And I jumped INTO it. Then I jumped again. I chuckled. I was, for that moment, NOT a mom … NOT an adult … and I was certainly NOT worried about what the “responsible” thing to do was.
IT. WAS. AWESOME. If you saw a maniacle woman jumping in puddles in a running skirt on Sunday … you may have seen me.
Something about the water and mud splashing up to my knees … I felt really present. Really alive. I could see every leaf in every tree. I felt the cool water on my warm legs. And then? The song Girls Just Wanna Have Fun comes on my playlist. Coincidence? I think not.
I start full-on belly laughing. I start running again, but its more like bounding … crazy legs flying every which way instead of falling at steady appropriate intervals. I wasn’t thinking about how tired I was, or how sore my muscles were, or even what time it was. I was smiling. I was singing out loud. Every puddle DEMANDED a massive splash. If the splash wasn’t big enough, I jumped up and down until that problem was rectified.
It was a BLAST. My play list continued to deliver me goodies with meaning. I want to quote the song lyrics for you, but I don’t want to run afoul of copyright law, so I’ll just tell you the songs and you can imagine in your mind’s eye (or ear, as the case may be) what I was feeling when these songs came on:
867-5309 / Jenny
Everybody Wants to Rule the World
About this time, I started climbing this huge hill near my house. The hill portion is a bit longer than 400 meters … so it’s pretty major. And steep. But I love it. So, I slow down to a walk and just start trudging up. Then, I hear in my ears the “nothing ever lasts forever” lyric and I start gasping for air. I’m crying, but not totally in a sad way. I realize that I’ve finally gotten back in touch with that little girl in me. And she is precious. And she is having FUN being in charge.
And guess what? The adult in me? She’s just sitting back and enjoying the show. She doesn’t feel the need to interject herself. She knows I need this. She knows that she needs to live in harmony with the muddy little girl who’s in charge right now.
I reach the peak of the hill. Then, the song Here I Go Again starts. And I start gasping again.
Damn You Universe! Why couldn’t you tell me this before?!
Oh yeah. Because being a grown-up often means that we don’t listen any more. We just do. We glorify busy. We act. We THINK we know instead of thinking TO know.
“Being a grown-up sucks” my inner child shouts at me. And what do I do? I laugh out loud. I realize that I am, at all times, a duplicitous being. I’m a grown-up and a child at the same time. And THAT makes me happy. When I ignore one or the other, I’m not happy. Because I’m not an “all or nothing” kinda gal. I love gray because … well, life is gray punctuated with color.
And that, my friends, is the thing about grown-ups. We forget that we were children once. We forget that we ARE children. We are someone’s child. And sometimes, most times, it’s totally okay to act like we’re someone’s child. It opens up endless possibilities.
Find a way to get in touch with your inner child. Paint. Color. Sing. Dance. Pout. Eat candy until you feel like you’re going to puke. The grown-up in you will thank you. And so will the child.