Wednesday, June 24, 2009

from a grown-up sized kid's perspective

About three weeks ago, I moved in with a family that has four kids (ages 7, 5, 3 & 19 months). I love it. I get to help out with the kids and the house, and in exchange get to live out in the blissfully streetlight-less country, replete with beetles and roly-polys and vagrant Chihuahuas (don’t ask, I don’t really know).

I’ve been thinking about my favorite things about living with kids, and thought it’d be good to hash them out via the blogosphere if for no other reason than to organize them as they careen about in my already full brain.

So here goes.

I love the routine. They get up early, they crash early. I get to fit in to that routine to some degree, and my body loves it. Best sleep schedule I’ve had in years. There’s a level of expectation and schedule that kids’ bodies and minds demand and they function better at that level. They require it. Reminds me I sort of do too.

I love learning the fine fine art of distraction. There is nothing more effective in defusing an argument than distracting one or both parties. What an illustration of how we choose what most occupies us at that moment. What is most attractive. I’m sure we never really grow out of that.

I get to PLAY. Monday we rode bikes in the backyard, which sounds harmless but really resembles more of “we mountain biked through the field that extends past the first fence and way out to the second”. I am constantly impressed and interested in what these kids accomplish. Little goals and little benchmarks become big deals, because they are and they should be. Things like the first jump off the diving board, when you’re so scared because you’re in the deep end and your floaties might not save you even though Mom keeps telling you you’ll be fine. Reminds me not to forget to get excited about the little things, and to try things that seem hard or scary.

I like bugs. I like hunting for roly-polys and I like catching mosquito eaters and I like when I can’t get all the dirt from under my fingernails. I like inventing excuses to get the kids outside mostly so I can be outside too. They get along better out there, and everything’s always new. There’s always something to find and explore and examine.

I have yet to come up with any reasons not to love where I am, because even in the moments where things are noisy or busy or messy or (gasp!) stinky, it’s easy to feel blessed and alive.

Monday, June 8, 2009

no disclaimers here

This will be mostly for my own good, which blogging often is. You know, in the self-actualizing way that writing something down kind of forces you to verbalize and acknowledge. This is mostly brought on by a recent gchat conversation with a dear friend in which we discussed the issue of feeling like kids running around in a grown up's world. She and I have known each other for a little over five years now, which is likely the longest I've known anyone that I didn't know before college. (Do the math...yes, I graduated in 2004.) Therefore, she is a kind of sounding board for my identity because we've watched one another ricochet all over the place trying to find where we fit. And I'd venture to say that we're on our way moreso than we've ever been, but we're not there yet. At least I'm not.

She and I will both be 23 in the next few months. I know, I know, we're just babies. Young adults in every sense of the phrase. We're fresh-faced (or something), idealistic, and uncertain. I'm still close enough to 18 that I can easily recall believing I'd sort of have it figured out by now. (Clearly, that's not the case.)

But I'm not 18 anymore. I've got a couple years under my belt. I don't claim to get it yet. I'm just saying that I'm starting to, you know? I find that I get most frustrated with myself when I look around and think that just because I'm a few years younger than most of the people I go to school with or even keep frequent contact with that I am separate from them. I'm not, and anytime I think I am, I have to stop and remember that people will respond to me. 22 (or 23 for that matter) is whatever I want it to be. If I want to segregate myself and feel young and silly, then people respect that. They really don't care. It's kind of up to me.

Most days I'm still reeling on the highs of newly discovered passions and then enduring their equal and opposite lows. I'm still trying to shed my tendency to make other people happy, because I'm realizing that never really worked for me anyways. It's still difficult, because that part of me runs really deep.

I'm impulsive and impetuous and awkward. I'm persistent and honest and concerned and curious. I've always been those things, and I probably always will be. It's learning to own them that makes the difference. And if you don't like me, I can be okay with that. :) I think.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

we are lipstick and cleats/we are not going home/we are playing for keeps

I don't really have a lot of organized words to share's all a-jumble. So here's a few lines from various sources that have been infiltrating my psyche.

I felt I wanted to cry like a child for the very joy of being alive. And then I became aware of the silence...a total, incredible silence after the din of the aircraft, a great blue and white silence that would never end. The earth below, bright yellow in the sunshine and apparently motionless, did not seem to be rushing up towards me. I was hanging there in the sky, happy and peaceful in an element whose extraordinary qualities I began to savour: fluid, impalpable, with no obstacles. I realized for the first time how delightful it would be to live there in a breathtaking liberty. It was my element.
-Leo Valentin, Bird Man

It all comes down to this
You take your best shot, might miss
You take it anyway
You're gonna make your move today
Got the will, you'll find the way
To change the world someday
Grab this moment before it's gone
Today's your day

It's on

And the view will never change
Unless you decide to change it
Don't feel like it today
Just show up anyways
And though life will take you down
It only matters if you let it
Get up, go through, press on
Today's your day

It's on

And though you wanna quit
Don't think you can get through it
You've come too far to walk away
It's not gonna be today
And no matter how you feel
It's what you do that matters
This is your moment to be strong
Today's your day

It's on

-Superchic[k], It's On