Standing in the middle of a path lined with wild flowers with the sun blazing unforgiving on my face I took the deepest breath of my life. I inhaled pine and palm, sky and lake. I concentrated on the beads of sweat dripping into the small of my back and acknowledged the pain in my right calf after too many fractures and Achilles ruptures.
I gave thanks to my body for surviving me. I gave thanks to my mind for surviving me. I gave thanks that I was able to stand in this place, at this time and take in that deep breath and I exhaled and forgave myself for the last year, for my failures, for everything I put myself through, because I seem so fundamentally broken at times.
How does one come to this place? Why do we take the simplest things and make them so complicated?
I want to climb trees and run on the beach and swing in the park and laugh and blow bubbles and go to the fair and feel the wind on my face from the back of a motorcycle and jump into a cold lake off a long pier and wander in a forest and find magic at night and pretend that lightening bugs are fairies and skip rocks across a calm surface.
I want to roast marshmallows and I don’t even really like them but I want to feel the warmth of them smoosh around chocolate squares and smell graham crackers over an open fire. I want to play hide and seek. I want to cheat and peek through my fingers and count to 100 really, really fast.
“1, 2, 3, 4, 20, 55, 79, 100!!!”
There is no part of me that longs to sit behind a desk crunching numbers, no part of me that wants the harsh florescent lights of an overhead office to replace the warmth of the sun on my face. There is no part of you that wants that either. So why do we do it?
Why did we make our lives so complicated? So unhappy? So demanding of things we do not wish to give just to survive in a concrete construction house with pretty bathroom towels we aren’t allowed to touch? When did we decide that the logo imprinted on the vehicle that we drive is more important than the imprint of our hearts?
This life is hard as it is. When did we decide to make things harder?
Heartache, losing a job, health concerns, divorce, struggling to make ends meet, raising children…all of these things present unique challenges.
Why did we stop believing in ourselves?
Why did we stop doing the things that made us happy?
When was the last time you pumped legs on a swing set? The last time you blew bubbles, just for you?
I realize that the world has been designed for us to believe that growing up means getting an education and a respectable job and becoming a contributing member to society. Getting married, settling down, having children, buying a house and for some people that IS happiness.
But what about people like us? People who aren’t content with following society’s rules for happy living?
What do we do to keep magic in our lives?
My friends and I make time to find wonder in everyday life. We hold full moon masquerade dinners on the beach. We celebrate made up holidays and create traditions.
We seek out obscure festivals, embrace art and culture and sometimes we simply share pictures of sunrise or sunset from different vantage points around our small town.
You can find magic. You can find wonder. You can make anything memorable.
Set challenges for yourself. Remember when you were a kid and you saw animals in the clouds? Do that. Look at the sky again the way you did as a child. See the world with fresh eyes every single day and take nothing for granted.
In this new world of mass shootings, violence, and divisiveness, find something common and make it extraordinary. Give thanks for every moment because this life is what we make of it.
We may not be able to go off grid and be kids again but we can remember what it’s like.
We have the ability to capture tiny pieces of wonder like lightening bugs in a jar on a warm summer night.
I’m not crunching numbers anymore. I am not basking in the rays of fluorescent lighting. I am standing in the middle of a path lined with sunshine, tongue out, tasting the rain from a sky filled with possibility. And I am giving thanks today…for a body and mind that although tired from the struggles of this life…still believe in magic and miracles.
You can too.
Christie is part of the Contributing Writer Network at Thirty On Tap. To apply to become a Contributing Writer, please click HERE.