Big kids. That's what Tim and I are really. And as I stand at a whopping 5 feet 2 inches on a good day when I stand very straight and think tall thoughts, not all that big really. And there is nothing wrong with having a child-like moment as long as it isn't also childish. In fact, I would go so far as to say that it is healthy and downright good for us to occasionally do something out of our normal adult, responsible, serious behavior.
On the day in question, above, Tim and I started out doing something responsible and healthy. Even though it was a weekend day and a holiday to boot, we decided to take a long walk. Nobody would have faulted either of us for lounging around all day, Tim works very long days. And sitting behind a computer for 10 or so hours a day and always on the phone can be grueling.
My days are filled with more variety of course, "Shall I iron or wash the floors? Prune the hedges or wash the windows" but the fact of the matter is that even though I don't get paid for what I do, it's still work and it's still obligatory and important. So if we decided to just lay on the sofa and watch movies all day once in awhile, few people would criticize us for it.
But no, we decided that we needed to get off our collective fannies and move exercise because it's good for us. Both Tim and I are rather goal driven, so even something as simple as a walk requires an endgoal. Where are we walking to? That was the question.
Since we walk to the beach nearly every day anyway, (and frankly it's not that far of a walk) I suggested the arboretum. It's in a very pretty park that can't be much more than a mile away. Walking around the park reading all the signs and admiring the flowers involves yet more walking of course and then there would be the return trip. So we would have had a halfway decent bit of excercise by the end. That was our thought.
It was a pleasant day, not too hot though sunny, with a good breeze going on, so we walked at a decent pace. Since it was a holiday, we weren't surprised to see the park nearly empty and it was nice to have it to ourselves. There was a lot of walk, stop, read a sign, take a photo, walk more going on. Not exactly a cardio workout, but still being upright and moving is preferred by 10 out or 10 doctors over sitting or lounging. When we reached the far side of the park I spied the playground.
I knew it was there of course. I've seen it every single time we've been to the park, but for some reason it never really registered. Probably because there were always kids playing on the playground and since we have no small children in our lives at this point, it was kind of a non-issue. It didn't really relate to us. So it was more of a fleeting observation. Playground, check, move on. That kind of thing. But on this day, the swings dangled empty, only the wind moving them around.
I don't know what possessed me to plant my arse on that swing. In fact, there was no actual thought involved. I just handed Tim my camera to hold and headed off toward the playground. There was no thought process involved at all. Just some base instinct.
I approached a little tentatively but sat down, grabbed those chains and started pumping my legs to get started. Muscle memory was still intact. Immediately, I felt the smile grow on my face. It took me back far too many years. When was the last time that I sat on a swing? Mercy, I couldn't even remember when. It was that long ago.
The actual process of swinging was dizzying and exhilarating and I was breathless when I stopped. I had forgotten the creak of the chains and the smell of the dirt as I dragged my feet to slowly come to a stop. The memory of the funky blur of the world around me as I moved back and forth locked into place. And then there was the pull of gravity against me as I was lofted upward each time. Yes! I remember this now! It was awesome!
Suddenly we were transformed. No longer were we serious and responsible adults doing serious and responsible adult things like exercise. We were kids again, frolicking and laughing and being silly through the rest of the park. Our mood was elevated and remained so for the rest of the day.
Once we left the park we walked on to the beach of course. Why not? We waded through the surf in a sunny frame of mind, sat on the sand with some friends and the conversation flowed freely and easily and we laughed so much my face hurt. Once home, we gobbled Easter candy as we prepared dinner and continued talking and laughing for the rest of the day through the evening.
While Tim and I always enjoy each other's company, there was a noticeable lift, an extra bit of energy, some new component added to give the day an extra bit of sparkle. And I can't help but think that it originated with that little step back into being a kid again, just for a little while.
I think that as adults, we sometimes get so caught up in our adultness, the serious business of being grownups, that we forget the importance of occasionally indulging that little kid that still lives inside us all.
Go ahead and have that ice cream cone. And definitely let it drip a little bit. Ride the merry-go-round, who cares what people think. Grab some chalk and draw out a hopscotch on the sidewalk, and then play a round or two. It's good for you! Play some catch, build a sandcastle, have cookies for breakfast, buy some crayons (I recommend the box of 64 with the sharpener in back) Blow some bubbles, make a newspaper hat (if you remember how) and then WEAR IT, whistle while you work, get a little dirty while you are playing and for heaven's sakes, if you are on a playground, have a swing! It might not change your life, but it could change your frame of mind that day.
We have to be grownups most of the time but not every moment of every day. Every once in awhile, let the little kid inside you out to play. You will be happy you did.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.