A few weeks ago I sat on the front porch and held my baby as we watched the older kids play with water on the trampoline.
It immediately brought back memories of my cousin Rikki and I as we enjoyed our summer in the exact way my kids were. We’d jump all day long as we covered the trampoline in dish soap to make it slick. Or one time we even attempted getting an old tarp and tying up each corner and dumping hot water on it, in an attempt to make our own hot tub. We also loved playing in the mud. We’d make mud pies, or cover our whole body up with the mud and we’d even get in mud fights.
As I thought about these memories, I decided to be a “fun” mom and encourage my kids to play in the mud like I used to. And play they did! They covered just about every square inch of their bodies, and they laughed and screamed the entire time. I knew then, that the mess we’d have to clean up later, would be completely worth it.
But then I also found myself, wanting to play in the mud with them. So I did.
I took my shoes off and marched over there and sunk my feet in the mud, right next to my kids. This caused my 8-year-old to say, “Mom! I never thought you’d play in the mud!” So I took the time then to tell him that as a kid I LOVED playing in the mud. It was one of my very most favorite things to do, and that even as an adult, I loved the feel of it squish between my toes. Then he said, ” Then why don’t you do it very much.”
I had to think about it for a second.
If I loved it so much, then WHY didn’t I ever do it anymore?
I finally understood that I had quit playing in the mud, because “adults don’t do that.” I had given up doing something that brought me joy because I felt that it wasn’t something I “should” enjoy doing anymore. Society told me to grow up and quit doing things I enjoyed doing as a kid. So I listened.
How bogus is that?!
Maybe that’s why we have people who walk around looking miserable? It’s because they’ve lost sight of who they are and what they love to do.
Think of kids. When are they the happiest?
It’s when they are running around, playing and doing something they love. They don’t care if they look silly. They don’t mind if no one else is doing it too. They just go about their business, doing what they love. They are constantly looking for fun and as a result, they are happy.
As a mentor, I am constantly telling women to make a joy list of things they like to do and it’s always a daunting task at first. What DOES bring them joy? What DO they like to do for fun? It’s been so long since they’ve done something for themselves that they don’t even know what it feels like to think of themselves. Where do they start?
From now on, I’m going to tell them to start at the beginning.
Find what it was you enjoyed doing as a child, and chances are, you still enjoy it now. You just haven’t given yourself permission to do it again.
So, go play in the mud, jump rope, ride bikes, rollerblade, build a tree fort, or whatever else it was you loved doing. It doesn’t matter what it is you love to do, just make sure that you go do it.
I promise, that if you start with this simple step, you’ll find so much more joy added to your life.
As you’ve read this post, I’m sure that childhood memories have flashed through your mind and you’re remembering what you loved to do as a child. So, what was it? Share it in the comments because sometimes when we hear ideas from other people, it gets our mind going too. And if there’s one thing this world needs a little bit more of, it’s definitely joy.