On Being Joyful
As children, we had no self-restrictions to joy. We built sandcastles or tall wooden block buildings and knock them down with laughter. We would sing as we skipped down the street. We saw nothing wrong with doing silly things like tossing leaves in the air to rain down on us. It was joyful!
Were we more joyful when we were children?
I’m not talking about childhood “happiness.” All of us are aware that too many children do not have happy childhoods. Despite their adverse environment, however, children can find delight and joy.
Often the things that delight children would make adults shudder. Heaven forbid we dive into a pile of leaves with all those allergens and bugs!! We are cautious and careful, and – responsible. Aaaghhh, “adulting!!”
The Downside of “Adulting”
As adults, we are more protective of the things we create instead of discovering the joy of disassembly. The noise of falling blocks doesn’t make us laugh out loud. The mess of sand flying in all directions doesn’t make us giggle.
What do we do to create our own laugh-out-loud moments or jiggle-the-middle giggles?
Do gardeners ever interrupt their garden labors of love to create moments for giggles? Do they pick a daisy or coreopsis or echinacea, pull off petals one by one, and toss them in the air to see colors fly through the sky?
When you’re cooking, do you make crazy swirls with your pancake batter? Do you make animal-shaped pancakes? (Only non-parents of school-aged children qualify for that question!)
Have you built a sandcastle without a child’s help?
Do you ever finger “paint” designs with the crumbs or flour on the counter?
Have you tried to toss miniature marshmallows across the table to see if you can hit your cup of hot chocolate? It’s not exactly beer pong, but would it make you laugh out loud?
Ditch Responsibility for Just a Moment
Responsibility sometimes dampens our joyful inspirations. Concerns for time, clean-up effort, or waste often restrict our heedless responses to an opportunity. We’re often afraid of “looking stupid.” We’d look like a child!
Sometimes there is nothing wrong with looking like a child. Nothing at all. When walking around this autumn, will you consciously kick the leaves in front of you to see how far they scatter? Can you face the splashy mess of tossing a few marshmallows?
Let’s acknowledge, create and accept opportunities for jiggle-the-middle giggles. Be joyful today. Or maybe this week. Definitely before the end of next week!!