Remind Me/Rewind Me

For a person who considers herself happily immature relative to her age, I am sometimes caught off guard when I realize how little of my youthful pleasures I’ve continued to pursue with appropriate enthusiasm into the present. Why on earth would I forego standing on a big plank swing, grasping the chains that hold it and me up, and pumping my legs until I feel like I could fly right on over the top steel bar of the swing set with the greatest of ease? Why not kick off my shoes and socks, abandon them in the dirt, and plunge into the cold river’s slippery, rock-strewn flow without regard for getting the legs of my pants all soaking wet? Is there any law that says a 52-year-old is no longer allowed to slurp her fruit punch noisily through a straw just because it’s so wonderfully refreshing and sugary?

Why, indeed, is the common phrase seemingly always about youthful enthusiasm, yet we tacitly agree to let only actual youths embrace it?

Remind me how being childlike and impulsively happy is so

Despite being of an age where my childhood version of the high swing was of rock-hard rubber on a steel pipe frame and underlaid with gravel-strewn dirt, I am—well—still alive at this age. I never broke a single bone or chipped a tooth, and my only stitches derived from an indoor activity, a school game of floor hockey. Though I wandered recklessly through many a stream and ocean’s shallows, without regard for my pants or my tender soles, and even drank from the occasional icy mountain brook, the worst that ever came of it was a cut from beach glass, soon enough cleansed with stinging but healing salt water. No clothes were ruined, and I got bit by nothing bigger than a sand- or horse-fly or two. I failed to contract Giardia or E. coli from those wild rivulets I sipped. Even the vast quantities of evil cyclamates in my childhood fruit drink binges failed to kill me off.

So how is it that I lost my ability to plunge ahead without caution to where I seemed, nearly always, to find joyful things? Remind me how always being responsible and mature and playing it safe is better for me.

But write it in a note and slip it under my door. I feel the need to go out and look for a little happy trouble.

18 thoughts on “Remind Me/Rewind Me

  1. Hahaha even if I broke an arm and chipped a tooth, I don’t regret one bit of the fun! How come I climbed all the trees in the forest, and now I can’t climb a ladder without freaking out? Your post is awesome, Kathryn, you really speak to my heart and to exactly where I am now, too, at 56. I’m resolved to do more activities outside, even if I’m less courageous than I used to be. You go girl, and dont forget to take pictures! ♥♥♥ ;^)

    • Exactly so! To retain the ability to be astonished, amused and educated like a child must be the ultimate prophylactic against becoming truly Old. Keep romping!

  2. I allow my ‘child within’ to live on the outside 99% of the time. We all have to be responsible to certain things in life but even then we can be responsible and still be childlike. I love happy trouble. Again amazing writing from you Kathryn 🙂

  3. Nice post. I don’t know the answer… I do know that broken bones lead to caution, but I do intend to get back on that bicycle soon (with a well-wrapped wrist, but no helmet!)

    • I’m pretty unbalanced even *without* a bike! But I do think that if mishaps teach us, we have better chances of success on every subsequent foray, and that makes the bumps and bruises of whatever survivable sort that much more worth the trouble. Good health and happy riding to you!!!

  4. Your post was refreshingly youthful and exuberant. Several years ago, one of my sisters asked me “What do you do for play?” and if memory serves me correctly, I believe I looked at her with a mixture of astonishment and disdain. I’m a grown-up, I thought. Grown-ups WORK, they don’t play. Imagine my chagrin when after a few years, I finally got around to realizing that her question was not only valid, but essential to a happier version of life. I’m still relatively new to the concept of adults at play, but love your description of searching out an adventure, and finding a bit of mischief, aka a little “happy trouble”. Have fun out there! 🙂

    • You too, dear one! You have done more than enough of the Being Grownup part to have earned the right to all sorts of playtime, never mind that it’s a privilege we should all enjoy and appreciate when it’s often as close under our noses as, say, rolling around in a room full of books and puppies!
      xoxo 🙂

  5. I love this post. Dont lose it! Im determined not to and although I can no longer do outdoor “extreme childlike” I can still do the indoor version and now I have grandchildren I find they joun in with me rather than the otherway round! 😄😄 x

  6. Well, I certainly won’t speak for all but I have gone about with reckless abandon — well as reckless as I can muster — and have taken a few lumps. I can say that those lumps hurt more and take longer to fade away than they once did. I know what you’re thinking and I agree. The ground is getting harder.

    • Yeah, the ground does get harder, but I think perhaps my noggin gets just a little tougher over time, too. What the hey, I’m finite no matter what; might as well go out with a flourish instead of a whimper, if I can get up the nerve. 😉

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