|My father and me. I am sure he wonders, as I do, how he blinked and we were adults.|
Yesterday I didn't post an entry, because I was doing something much more important. I was spending time with friends, and reliving bits of my childhood. Yesterday I sat on a swing for the first time in three years. I pumped my legs, closed my eyes, and for a brief instant, I was ten years old, under the tree in my backyard with my grandmother telling me to be careful, and not to go too high. I let my braid fall over my shoulder, and embraced the feeling of the breeze on my face. I let myself feel the danger of going ever so slightly too high and having the swing give a jerk on the way back down.
I couldn't help but wonder, why did I stop doing this? Why has it been three years since I allowed myself the simple joy of being on a swing? When did I grow up and stop doing things as a child does, for the pure joy and loveliness of it? When did I get old enough to be married, to have my own home, to be contemplating children of my own, to be looking forward to the arrival of nieces and nephews? To borrow a quote from the creator of the original Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin, "The days are long, but the years are short."
Part of my Happiness Project is me working to allow myself to feel the zest for life I did as a kid. To enjoy things as a child does, that is things that I have allowed to get lost in the shuffle of adult life. Here are eleven things that I have promised I will do to attempt to regain the enthusiasm of my youth.
- I will swing, and allow myself to get lost in the moment, and the joy that was wind and air and flight and freedom.
- I will enjoy my horses as I did in my youth. I will ride bareback, bake horse treats, and do pony spa days.
- I will read the things I want to read, without shame or fear of judgement. I will allow myself an afternoon to peruse picture books, cross the bridge to Teribithia, enter the wardrobe to Narnia, or hop on the Hogwarts Express.
- I will flirt with my husband as if I am fifteen, quietly take his hand, and enjoy a walk in the park with him. (This was one of my favorite dates growing up, as well as one of our first dates.)
- I will find a creek, use my feet to turn over rocks to catch crawfish, and sit with my legs in the water, allowing myself to be transfixed and fascinated by the leaves and blades of grass I feed to the current.
- I will be friendly the way I was growing up, without worrying about whether I am liked or not, of if I'm crossing a line, or any other adult fear that we are too wise to feel as children.
- I will tell and laugh at bad, clean humored jokes. (Where do cows go on Friday nights? The moooovies.)
- I will do things that make me happy, not things that are "supposed" to make me happy. I will read and swing and write my blog and brush my pony's mane. I will not go to a concert, just because it's something I "should" find enjoyable.
- I will watch the movies and shows I watched as a child and fall in love with them all over again.
- I will slow down, and notice the precious things of wonder around me. When was the last time you watched a spider build a web, studied an animal living its ordinary existence, counted the cars on a train that went by, or appreciated just how many colors there were in the sky as the sun went down?
- I will dream, as if I am without limits and as if any tomorrow is truly possible.
True, we are not Peter Pan and we cannot live in Neverland forever, but we can go back for brief periods in the stolen, precious moments of free time as an adult and enjoy them to the fullest.