When Childhood Beckons

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Last night I had some extra time on my way to a meeting so I decided to grab a tea at our local coffee shop and enjoy the beautiful fall evening.  My meanderings landed me at the elementary school playground, where the swings were completely empty.  There was a football practice on the adjacent field and several kids were playing on the monkey bars and slides, supervised by bored parents.  Almost compelled, I set down my tea, purse and folder and grabbed a swing.

I’m sure I was quite a sight:  a forty-seven year-old woman gleefully swinging on a swing, alone.  But it was just that:  gleeful.  I started slowly, a little apprehensive, but then found myself pumping and trying to get as high as I could, finding that my stomach was not used to the movement and the tickle almost made me giggle.  Giggle.

What an unexpected release it was, to be childlike, if only for a few minutes.  To forget, for a few minutes, about the fight I had just had with my defiant teenager, the bills I paid the day before with not a lot of money.  You know, the overall weight of adult life.  I went to my meeting refreshed and a little lighter. 

I began to wonder:  what can we do to incorporate childhood, and this lightness, into our everyday lives?  Lay in the grass and watch the clouds, eat cookies and milk, jump in the leaves, blow bubbles, take a nap?  Or swing on a random swing that seems to beckon.

Whatever it is, I recommend that when childhood does beckon, listen.  Be silly, be free, feel the tickle in your stomach.  Giggle.  You will totally love it.  Just sayin.’




Concrete Lesson

A few mornings a week, I jog at our high school’s track around the football stadium.  Currently, they are in the process of renovating the school so there is constant activity as the workers tear down and build.  Leading to the track near the end zone of the field is a cement tunnel, which will be used by the players to run onto the field and will be the entrance from the new athletic complex. 

A few days ago, one of the workers was sanding the smooth wall, producing a cloud of dust and dirt (so much for getting outdoors in the “fresh air”).  Today, the sanding complete, the same man was applying a coating of what I assume was sealant on the wall and I thought, as other workers are laying bricks and moving earth, “Who would have thought a cement wall would require so much TLC?”

Jogging in circles on a cool fall morning, sweating but energized, I wondered if other people gave themselves the TLC that they deserve.  Aren’t we so much more valuable than a cement wall?  And much more vulnerable?  Here’s an excerpt from concretethinker.com:

The design service life of most concrete buildings is often 30 years, although buildings often last 50 to 100 years or longer. Most concrete and masonry buildings are demolished due to obsolescence rather than deterioration.  Concrete, as a structural material and as the building’s exterior skin, has the ability to withstand nature’s normal deteriorating mechanisms as well as natural disasters.

Huh.  Natural disasters.  Doesn’t sound like concrete needs any TLC at all.  I recently re-posted a cartoon on my Facebook wall with the following caption:

Patient:  Doctor, I don’t feel well and I don’t know why.

Doctor:  I want you to meditate, twice a day, for twenty minutes, exercise every day for 30 minutes, avoid processed foods, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, spend more time in nature and less indoors, stop worrying about things you can’t control and ditch your TV.  Come back in three weeks.

It’s really not hard to comprehend.  Pretty simple, really.  But for many of us, we are too entrenched in this fast-paced, immediate-gratification culture and change is hard.  But we can start small.  Recently, my husband and I removed the drawer in our refrigerator meant only for cans in an effort to eliminate diet soda from our diets.  Small move, big change.

You are not a concrete wall, designed to withstand natural disasters.  Anyone who has witnessed the birth of a child recognizes that the human body is a miracle.  Maybe if we remember that, we will give it the TLC it deserves.

Listen to the doctor, and if you need to, just pick one thing to change.  Appreciate the miracle.





Buddy Brainstorm

What a week it was: Visiting a friend in the hospital being treated for leukemia, finding out a family friend, two years younger than I, died after a year-long battle with cancer, not getting the job I was hoping for, and remembering my brother on what would have been his 53rd birthday

The week culminated with a date with my 80-something mother-in-law to see “Buddy,” a musical about the late Buddy Holly: his rise to fame and unfortunate early death.  I couldn’t help but see the parallels between this story and the ones that played out this past week: a life, in its prime, cut short without rhyme or reason.

The last half of the musical was mostly dedicated to Buddy Holly’s  last performance before getting on that fateful plane during a winter storm. With him at this performance was Ritchie Valens (only 17) and “The Big Bopper” J.P. Richardson, who also both perished that night.

I was struck by a strange feeling as I was clapping along with this “concert” and really enjoying the performances:

Everyone in the audience knows how this story ends

but we are still having fun, clapping and singing along.

And I thought, isn’t that a wonderful idea of how we should live our life in general?  Everyone knows how this story ends but we can, and should, have fun.

Wouldn’t it be better if we were able to be more focused on and enjoy “the now” instead of what might be?

My mother-in-law and I did. All because of a very young man who dared to be himself, and fought for what he believed. He, like some other people I have known, died too early, but was very rich.

Here’s to enjoying the now, the show, and the ride.