It was a simple question; an innocent question. “Can you take a picture of me in the air when jump off the swing?”
“Why yes. Yes, I can!”
Do something I love while he gets to be the daredevil he loves to be? I didn’t give it a second thought. Seeing his toothy-grin, the dust kicking up under his running feet each time my nephew ran towards me after catapulting himself into the air off of the park swing screaming, “Did you get it?” still makes my heart happy.
Later that evening as I was uploading the photos onto my desktop I thought about how simple the whole thing had been – an earnest question, a quick response and an afternoon of fun – just like that! It was then that it hit me. Children are so open. They ask for whatever they want right there on the spot without weighing themselves down with inhibition and complicated mental gymnastics that so many adults do. They just go for it!
Joy is such a wonderful counterbalance to the overdose of stress, pain and anxiety we feel so much of the time. So why not try to reach back to access that child we once were so we can increase the amount of joy in our daily lives? Here are some ideas to help awaken the free-spiritedness of childhood and increase in joy we can feel when we just go for it:
– Go to a local park; ride a swing, take the slide.
– Stay in the city after work and see a show just on a whim – no planning. Let happen what may.
– Try a food you’ve never tried – get the oysters instead of the steak, the Frango a Cafrial (chicken the African way as served in Mozambique) instead of the breaded cutlets you always order.
– Type “List of Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles of ___” inserting the year you were born + ten years. So, if you were born in 1962, type on 1972. Scroll down to week of your birthday, see what song was popular when you celebrated your 10th birthday and play it on YouTube. See what fun childhood memories pop up in your mind.
– Kids are so willing to try something just to see what it would be like so why not buy 12 individual roses (dethorned please!) and give each one to a different person you encounter in the street? Tell each person you just wanted to spread some cheer and smiles.
– Go to the park you used to play little league at and run the bases a few times, just for fun.
– Buy some chalk, draw a hopscotch board and play with absolutely anyone – a co-worker at lunch, your spouse on the weekend, your kids, your grandkids or your best friend. Winner buys Skittles or whatever your favorite candy is!
– Play Frisbee!
– Go to ToysRUs, peruse the aisles reminiscing over the games you used to play – board games, dolls, card games, action figures. Pick your favorite two and donate them for needy children for this holiday season.
– Go to a dollar store, buy a bottle of bubbles and blow to your hearts content.
I hope you will give joy a chance and try one or more of these. If you do, post a comment and/or a photo! It will bring me more joy knowing you were happy!