Recently I was in a local bookstore, browsing while my little guy was looking for his latest read. I stumbled across a book focusing on helping you get married within the year. I giggled loud enough for people to glance my way. Why would anyone want a legally binding contract with someone they barely knew, assuming the book wasn’t targeted at people already engaged or in a long relationship where marriage has been elusive? I hesitated for a moment until curiosity got the best of me and I opened it.
I noticed the book recommended that you to get out there if you expect to meet someone. Duh. I flipped to the middle of the book and right to a chapter that talked about getting in touch with your inner ten year old. Intrigued, I began to read. Basically it talked about how to find out who you really are by thinking back to when you were ten years old. What brought you joy? Utter genius! My son came back and we left the store, but the idea stuck.
My youngest child is ten. It’s such a magical age. Still innocent, yet old enough to have a solid sense of self and the world at large. So I thought back to when I was that age.
In the Summer, I loved to watch the boys play competitive baseball at the local park. I spent every available hour outside playing with the neighborhood boys, riding my bike around town, and countless hours on my roller skates, and tumbling around the front yard. At recess I flipped around and around on the monkey bars until the bell rang. I hung out with the girls I had known since first grade, and we giggled and went on adventures. I survived the awful Chicago winters by watching football with my dad and by reading. Hours and hours and hours of reading. I scored in the 99th percentile for reading and writing in Fifth grade.
During my marriage, I lost this girl. I rarely spent time doing anything but working, cleaning, and taking care of kids. I took up running in order to cope. I never read, and I was addicted to cable news. I was good at my job, but my career was a distant memory. I forgot all about my dreams.
I have been single for over 4 years. I am thrilled to tell you that my lost ten year old is back! I instinctively returned to who I had always been! I go to professional baseball games as often as I can. I spend football season watching my favorite teams with anyone willing to sit with me. I love to play with boys, ride my bike, and you can find my roller blades in the back of my truck. I go to the gym and do handstands, pull ups, and balance work. I cherish my girl friend time. I READ again! Fiction and nonfiction, there is always a stack of books by my bed. And of course, I write. A lot.
I am a responsible adult, yet my inner child is alive and well. I wonder how far away people are from the ten year old that they were. How much happier would you be if you took a few minutes and asked yourself what was important then. How different are you really? I didn’t grow up in the happiest household, but I remember what made me happy. I remember what made the chaos bearable.
My guess is that JOY is pretty simple to find. What made you happy then will make you happy now. Does it matter if you want to get married or not? I don’t remember wanting to be married at that age, but I remember the girls that did. They were the ones who played with Barbie and Ken for hours.
Excuse me while I go spend some time outside in the sun! It’s time to play for a while.