Alternative title to this post:
Searching for a Child-Like State of Being
My Summer Goal this year was to get my hair wet. You see, I’m a dyed blonde and my straw-like, over processed, yellow tresses tend to grab green from the chlorine of any amateur pool owner’s water. So there’s a lot of “Don’t splash Mommy!” and “Chill out, you’ll get my hair wet.” And frankly, that’s not fun. Even in the ocean, where I feel at most myself, I have neglected to submerge in recent years, knowing it is going to be a pain in my rear to comb through later. Again, no fun. But water is where I am the most fun and to not have my kids know that side of me is…sad. So this summer I decided to do some cannon balls into the pool and have underwater hand stand competitions (which, of course, I won). My kids saw me laugh again.
The “What Ifs” Got Me
And this was only my first step in searching for a child-like state of being. My life has become ruled by “What Ifs” and “Be Carefuls.” I’ve become a joy kill. I swear I used to be the funnest person in the room when I was younger. My friend’s 5-year-old ran up to me the other day to give me a great big bear hug. I stopped her because I had just gotten out of hot yoga and I was sweaty and didn’t want to get her wet. My girlfriend replied “She doesn’t care. She wants to show you what you mean to her.” She reminded me that kid’s don’t have those boundaries we set up as adults and continue to hide behind. I need to give more wet hugs. I need to drop some boundaries. I need to be less careful. Travel used to push those boundaries for me; how can I rediscover travel to use it again to open me back up?
The Ocean is Calling Me
To put this child-like state of being into affect, I challenged myself to be a little spontaneous on my most recent day out. My daughter and I were heading to an art festival, and as we approached the turn off, I asked her “Should we just go to the beach instead?” The ocean is calling me, and I must answer. Caution be gone, I even ponied up the $15 to park (knowing this beach is really the gem of So Cal), and down we went to the water. At first I began with “Don’t go into the water past your thighs.” (Because old habits are hard to break.) But then we went further and further, until the water washed over us like the most spiritual baptism. We laughed and we splashed and we rode the waves in.
One day my daughter may not want to be seen with me. One day being at the beach with her mother won’t be cool. So that day I soaked it all in-my daughter, the water, the joy. And perhaps pure joy is how to become childlike again.
***Side Note: Later that evening, I discovered I lost my driver’s license at the beach. My joy quickly subsided when it dawned on me that I was going to have to spend a day at the DMV. Trying to sustain that joy, takes purposing it into being on a daily basis. So to regain it once again, the next day when a skater rode by me with an albino boa wrapped around him, and asked me if I wanted to pet it, I did. I was hesitant at first, but reminded myself that my younger self would do it. As I went to touch the enormous snake, the skater said to me “See, you’re being brave.” And as my fingers went to the back of the boa’s body instead of near the mouth, the skater continued “Ish…Brave-ish.” That’s okay, that’s a beginning.