I have never been one to let my own limitations hold me back, though several times my body will reach up and slap me and remind me that while the spirit is willing the flesh isn’t always able, I have always tried to live my life to the fullest that I could. I thought I had been doing well at it, but I discovered I was failing and doing so quite spectacularly.
While I have always tried to let things go, I have found myself concentrating on the negative more than the positive as of late, not something that is hard to do in the current climate, it feels sometimes like that’s what the world wants. Misery loves company and it seems misery has been gaining more and more company as the years go by. Every day we hear about something else we should fear, some other way someone is going to screw us, some other horrible atrocity that we have no idea how or why it happened. Life has taken what we once were, children with wide open eyes who saw a promise in everything, to beaten down adults who look not for the positive in things but for the negative in absolutely everything.
Do you remember when you were a kid? The rush you felt riding your bike, or playing a new game, how about when you would try something new, or when you made a new friend? Do you remember the excitement you woke up with each day? I know life has a way of beating that out of us, as adults we have bills, we have other people to look after, we have money that doesn’t go quite as far as we need it to, we have people on television yelling at us about how horrible everyone and everything is and dividing us in every way they can, it makes you feel like the joy you had as a child was a fleeting one that you can never get back, but I promise you there are ways to recapture that feeling.
This summer showed me that, it all started when I spent the weekend with two men I love like brothers, in that weekend they opened my eyes to what I had been missing in life. I was trying to hard to be “grown”, to act responsibly to be what I thought the definition of a grown up was that I was forgetting to actually enjoy life. That weekend we went fishing in the rain, stayed up all hours of the night, played disk golf the next morning and took a tour of restaurants ranging from Vietnamese cuisine to Mexican Menudo stew. When I came home something was different about me, and since that weekend I have done everything I can to keep that going.
Now I try and make every day like that weekend, I take the kids to the park just to play around, or we throw a fishing pole into the water and just enjoy where we are. I get my friends together to stomp around the woods while playing disk golf, which I suck at and really don’t totally understand, but we are all laughing at each other and ourselves. It fills me with a youthful energy that I haven’t had in a long time.
The bills are still there, my sons medical bills come in every month and seem to take more and more of our money each time, as do my medical bills, the mortgage comes in,, the utility bills, saving what I can for Christmas, but when I start to stress, when I start to find things that take my enjoyment away from me, I get the kids and we get on our bikes, or we go in the backyard and play tag, or we play horseshoes, or I call up my friends and throw together an impromptu game of disk golf.
So I challenge you, find the things you can control, the things in your life that are making you unhappy that you can take control of, and let them go. Find a way to recapture your youth, to spend an afternoon where you let go of your worries for even an hour and act like an 8 year old again. Let go of your grudges, let go of anything that you can that fills you with regret or despair and fill your life with things that will make you excited again. Try new things and let go of the old things that are no longer a joy, play a board game with some strangers, volunteer at the local library to read to small children, or just to put away the books, get a bike, find a park and take a ride around, explore a part of town you have never been to, or find a small town near you and take a trip to see what it’s like, buy a fishing pole and put it in the water, play a card game with your friends, learn to play dominoes and head to the local retirement home and volunteer to play with some of the residents, dance in the rain with someone you care about, or with no one at all.
Change your perspective, change how you look at life, and challenge yourself to be young again.