While chatting with a childhood friend recently over the telephone, I was reminded of my childhood, and perhaps this was also yours. During that same telephone call, I was also reminded of the time I jumped into a puddle—as an adult. During my childhood, I was often told to avoid rain and mud puddles to prevent getting wet, catching a cold, or having my clothing soiled or dirty, or told not to run too fast to keep my knees and elbows free from scars. Or told not to during my attempts and desires to climb trees or climb on the roof of the house to just sit and maybe jump back off. Or you may have been told not to play inside of the house, don’t do this, don’t do that. I’m certain the adults in my life and yours meant well and thought they were protecting us from harm and injuries. However, what actually happened is they thwarted a bit of our imaginations and ability to just be children and do the things children should be allowed to do. It also caused many of us to become very careful adults and often fearful of taking chances.
When many of us were away or out of eyesight from the adults at a park or recreation center, we did unthinkable acts, such as jumping off of a merry-go-round that was moving at the speed of at least 35 miles per hour. We would also push one another as high and as hard as possible on the swings, only to jump off, maybe even turn a flip while jumping—again at a high rate of speed. Honestly, except for maybe our pride and a few belly aches from the merry-go-round, or a scraped knee or elbow, I don’t recall any of us becoming severely injured—We never would have committed such atrocities in front of the adults.
So what if my clothing became soiled? What if I did fall and scrape my knee or broke an arm? Clothing can be washed. Broken arms, scraped elbows, and knees can be mended and bandaged. The same Mercurochrome that was used to paint and stain red spots all over our bodies due to mosquito bites and minor scrapes, could have been used to heal everything—so the older adults thought. Remember that little brown bottle? We would have survived, just as a baby survives it’s first and many falls off of a bed.
Many of the physical scars I received in my lifetime happened since I have been an adult. I’ve never experienced a cast on my arm as a child to have my friends and family add their autographs and silly pictures as a result of my playing outdoors and falling. My big fall happened as an adult— It was then that I required my hand, wrist, knee, and head to be bandaged and in a cast. As adults, it often takes longer to recover from injuries than it would have as a child. Nevertheless, I recovered and so will you.
“When you make a conscious decision to become free and live in the moment—amazing things happen. There is an amazingly beautiful world on the other side of reserve and fear.”
Two years ago, while walking my puppy, Zara and wearing my rainboots, I came to a puddle in a nearby parking lot and without a second thought, decided to jump into the puddle. I jumped and I splashed, and I jumped and I splashed until I was finished. No one was there to instruct me to stop or to tell me I was going to get wet, dirty, or injure myself. Zara, and the onlookers, no doubt looked at me as though I had lost my complete mind. That moment was the most cathartic and freeing moment I think I had ever experienced in my lifetime. And it will certainly happen again.
Last week, I had yet another of those moments. My family was here visiting for Summer vacation. My little niece found my roller skates and wore them around the house throughout her visit. The skates were too big for her of course, but I did not utter a single word, as I enjoyed watching her just be a child and in her own little world. Though I had to watch my toes, she was not hurting anyone or in any danger of harming herself.
On one of the evenings while they were visiting, after the rain ended, we decided to walk down to my pool to just sit and place our feet in the water, as we did not have on swimming attire, just our regular clothing. I sat on the side of the pool watching as my auntie and her granddaughter decided to wade in the shallow end of the pool, fully clothed. I’m like, “no, I don’t want to get my hair wet, and I don’t have on a bathing suit.” After some time, suddenly, without thinking I found myself completely immersed in the pool, fully clothed and in the deep end. Oh my! The feeling and thrill of liberation was absolutely amazing. At that moment, I vowed to make more of those spontaneous moments to just live, to just be. When you make a conscious decision to become free and live in the moment—amazing things happen. There is an amazingly beautiful world on the other side of reserve and fear.
Oftentimes, we overthink things and ultimately, miss out on the moments we should have taken and enjoyed. Either we care far too much about what others may think about us if we behave outside of what is deemed normal or we place too much pressure on ourselves thinking, what if this happens, or what if that happens? I have lived my life for too long with regrets of doing and behaving in the manner others expected me to behave, instead of living in the moment. For the remainder of my life, I will live in the moment— I will make every single moment count, instead of counting the moments. The next time the rain falls, go outside and play in the rain- get yourself wet, get your hair wet. Find yourself a nice muddy puddle and jump into it. JUMP! Do what makes you happy. Do what frees you. Do whatever brings you joy. Live life! Just breathe! Just Do It!