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You know how when you are a kid you can't wait to grow up?
You wait longingly for the day when no one tells you when to go to bed... when to shower... checks if you really brushed your teeth... makes you clean your room... clear your plate... comb your hair... tells you what to wear... when you need a haircut... to be quiet... to be still... grounds you and takes away your privileges, etc.
You run instead of walk, yell instead of whisper, laugh when everyone else is quiet, have no concept of fear. You jump off of things, sing even if you're not "good" at it, try things you've never done before (without fear of embarrassment of judgement). You draw, imagine, create, laugh til it hurts, eat brownies for breakfast, you don't worry about what other people think of you. You dance. You live loudly, free, wild, and with reckless abandon.
The catch of course is that you spend a lot of time during those years wishing you were older. Then you spend your adult years wishing you were younger. As our bodies and minds get older and more mature we start to lose some of the spark that we had as kids. Now... some of this is for the best (I probably should floss and skip brownies for breakfast most days), but some of the things we shed as we get older are a true loss.
I was at the pool recently and there were a lot of children there. Skinny little boys and girls, chubby ones, Black, White, and Latino kids. They didn't seem shy about being in bathing suits, about yelling, laughing loudly, going down the slide roaring with delight all the way down. They were happy and free. They weren't divided by gender, by how much money they made, or race. They weren't insecure or judgmental. They didn't have an inflated sense of self nor were they split down political party lines. They were so happy.
I then looked at the adults at the pool. Looking one another up and down behind polarized shades, sitting a safe (and socially acceptable) one to two chairs away from their nearest neighbor. When they did start talking it went to what neighborhood in the community you live in, what do you do for a living, what do you think about politics, do you have kids, are you married, etc.? We try to figure one another out. It's more about impressing each other than enjoying one another. Adults are very concerned with being cool. We don't want to be embarrassed, be vulnerable, or thought of as weak or silly.
The cycles of life are weird that way.
Most of us are pretty carefree as children... then we try to "fit in" as a teenagers... stand out as adults (ie: have a high paying job, the most talented children, be mother of the year, post picture perfect photographs to social media, etc.)... then as we get older we kind of revert back closer to who we were as children. Have you ever noticed that old people wear what is comfortable, make friends easily, laugh a little too loud, eat pie for breakfast, speak their minds, hug you a little bit too long, kiss you on your mouth, and make time for the people and things that bring them joy?
I think most of us are awesome kids and are going to be awesome old people, but somewhere in the middle we get lost. We get it all wrong. We start to care too much about shit that doesn't matter. Like looking cool... looking like we have it all together. Looking like our spouses, kids, bank accounts, and values are perfect. We hide behind groups that we belong too, the brand names we wear or carry, our religion, socioeconomic class, what our spouses, friends, and neighbors think of us. We spend a lot of time talking about how "wrong" other people are for the choices they make in their lives and doing that makes us feel like we are doing something with our lives. That we are somehow better. You know what we cared about as kids? If you were nice, and if you would trade me your grape juice box for my orange one. You know what we hated? Broccoli. That's about it.
It's pretty simple, really.
We are all made up of strengths and vulnerabilities. Although we don't like to admit it, most of us are one bad day away from a life totally different than the ones we are live right now. We can all be abandoned. We can all get sick. We can all become broke. Our shit can get turned on it's head in any moment.
So maybe playing a little more, bitching a little less, laughing, singing, dancing, making friends with people who don't look like you (or live exactly like you) and hugging people too tightly aren't such bad ideas afterall.