Saturday, July 24, 2010
365 Lessons-Lessons 205: Free Your Inner Child
"Grown-ups never understand anything for themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them."—Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince, 1943
Another post from my 365 Lessons from 2010. I like this one very much. Here it is:
Floating, swimming, frolicking in the woods, eating cupcakes with stars on them, swinging on the swings even though there are only children on the swings with their mothers or fathers pushing them. What made us become serious adults who say, "Oh, I'm too old for that." Is there an age limit to floating, swimming, frolicking in the woods, eating cupcakes or swinging on swings? When given the chance, I don't hesitate to do any of these.
When you let your inner child out, the one inside you that liked to play and was always game for anything new, you free yourself. The picture of me on the swings was at my best friend's twins second birthday. All the kids were running all over the place with cake smeared across their faces. They climbed ladders, slid down slides, played in the sand box, walked over the rope bridge, but not me. I made a bee line for the swings.
I have so many memories of being on swings when I was young. I remember moving my legs forward and back, forward and back to try and get as high as possible. Sometimes I got so high that the poles supporting the swing seemed to come out of the ground. A rush of fear would spread throughout my body for an instant as I thought, "What if I break the swing?" and then I'd let go and close my eyes, let the swing rock me back and forth and feel the wind blow my hair back and touch my cheeks and nose. There's something soothing about the rocking motion of a swing. I'm sure it comes from the time when I was a baby and was soothed in this fashion by my parents. Once the swing would start to slow down, I'd jump out onto the sawdust.
Yesterday, when I arrived at my parent's lake house in Washington, I didn't hesitate to go for a swim. I didn't care if the water was warm or cold. I was going in. I don't think my family believed me and followed me down to the dock. I walked down the ladder and found the water to be surprisingly warm. Once in the water, I tread water and blew bubbles with my lips just like when I was a kid.
I also ventured off on my own around the lake. I walked slowly looking at all the houses and trees along the way. I heard young girls scream on a inner tube out on the lake. I caught a glimpse of them high up on the road through the trees. Their laughter was contagious and I couldn't help but laugh myself at the good time they seemed to be having. While walking I felt so happy and free I decided to take my self portrait. I wanted to remember my feeling.
Today my sister and her kids arrived for my father's birthday party. I was sorry I couldn't stay longer, but I needed to make it back to Seattle. They made chocolate cupcakes with different sprinkles on them. My dad got the one with dinosaurs because, well, I guess he's getting up there in age, but he is still young at heart. He was very pleased, however, that his cupcake only had one candle. He said, "Wow, look, I'm one!" and then blew it out.
My cupcake had stars on it. I licked the frosting and ate the whole thing in about four bites. After our cupcake eating session, I sat for a little while longer with my sister and family outside on the deck and we told stories about when we were young. We have so many.
It's always great to reminisce, but instead of just remembering all the fun times I had when I was a kid, I try to keep that part of me alive. I want to keep the flame burning. There's an innocence to the way children are. Often times I feel it's a shame that the child in us gets bottled up once we become adults. There's a tendency to become reserved and fearful of doing anything that might embarrass us. When I let my inner child out, I find my spark for life. It keeps things exciting, spontaneous and fun!
Do you let your inner child out to play? When was the last time you did something spontaneous and fun?